Obstructive sleep apnea affects around 20 million Americans and can lead to hypertension, heart attack, stroke, depression, muscle pain, fibromyalgia, morning headaches, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sleep Apnea Elevated in Veterans with PTSD

We know that sleep apnea is commonly correlated with mental health disorders, but until now it was unknown just how strongly the disorder was correlated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, a recent study, conducted by researchers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, shows just how close the connection is.

According to the study, 54% of PTSD patients had obstructive sleep apnea, far above the normal population rate of approximately 20%. Furthermore, although the patients were on average slightly overweight (28.91 average BMI), the difference between PTSD patients and the general population was still statistically significant. Also statistically significant was the relative youth of the population compared to the typical age of sleep apnea sufferers. Sleep apnea has been known to be associated with traumatic brain injury, but surprisingly in this population the OSA sufferers were less likely to have traumatic brain injury than the non-sufferers.

One contributing factor was the use of painkillers and sedatives among the veterans with PTSD. But this was not statistically significant.

The study authors noted that one challenge for treating sleep apnea in this group was that compliance with CPAP therapy was potentially even lower than in the general population.

If you are suffering from mild to moderate sleep apnea, there is a more comfortable and easier treatment option. Oral appliance therapy is a treatment option for many obstructive sleep apnea patients. To learn more about sleep apnea and its treatment option, contact a local sleep dentist today.

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posted by Dr. Candelaria at 3:33 PM