Sleep apnea can have a dramatic impact on your health, contributing to numerous health problems. The most serious of these are related to cardiovascular complications. Stroke is a deadly complication of sleep apnea. If you have sleep apnea, you have an elevated stroke risk.
But the increased risks of sleep apnea don’t end when you have a stroke. We’ve already talked about how sleep apnea can impact your recovery from stroke, and it can increase your risk of having a second stroke.
Now a new study shows that it can also increase your risk of post stroke depression.
Linking Depression Risk to Apnea Severity
For this study, researchers looked at 265 stroke patients. All were given a polysomnography during their hospitalization for stroke to determine which had sleep apnea. The patients were broken into the following categories:
18% had no sleep apnea
32% had mild sleep apnea
20% had moderate sleep apnea
29% had severe sleep apnea
(Numbers do not add up due to rounding.)
They found that three months later, about 33% of patients had post-stroke depression. This was strongly correlated with sleep apnea. In particular, people with severe sleep apnea were more than 4 times as likely to develop post stroke depression than those without sleep apnea.
Further analysis even showed that the more severe the sleep apnea, the more likely a person was to develop post stroke depression.
Sleep Apnea Treatment Could Help
Post stroke depression is a major hurdle for people trying to recover from a stroke. People with post stroke depression are more likely to have poor recovery, and more likely to have additional strokes. Some of this could be related to the overlap between sleep apnea and post stroke depression.
Fortunately, it seems likely that treating sleep apnea after a person has a stroke will not only improve recover and reduce the risk of additional strokes, it could also reduce the risk of post stroke depression.
We’ve talked before about how sleep apnea treatment could be one of the more effective ways to treat depression. In one study, a population where 74% of people had depression (and 14% expressed suicidal thoughts) had only a 4% rate of depression after sleep apnea treatment (with no suicidal thoughts). Although this wasn’t a study focused on post stroke depression, it shows that there’s a high probability that people with post stroke depression could respond favorably to sleep apnea treatment.
Sleep Apnea Treatment Options in Omaha
At the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center, we want all patients to get the sleep apnea treatment that is best for them. This might be CPAP or an oral appliance. We evaluate each patient carefully and steer them to the best treatment for their apnea and their lifestyle.