Depression and Obstructive Sleep Apnea-Clinical Implications
There is a considerable overlap between symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and depression, resulting in under-diagnosis of OSA which is a common sleep disorder.
OSA is characterized by repetitive pharyngeal collapse in sleep, manifested chiefly by snoring and daytime sleepiness. This cyclical collapse results in cyclical hypoxia and cyclical stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. This is responsible for adverse effects on various body systems. These consequences can be life threatening. Nocturnal symptoms mainly include loud and habitual snoring, choking, restless sleep, dry throat and nocturia. In elderly, nocturia and cognitive impairment are prominent symptoms. During daytime OSA patients mainly experience fatigue, sleepiness and inability to concentrate. In fact, OSA patient may present with daytime symptoms only, as nocturnal symptoms are observed by the partner sharing the bedroom; who may consider snoring as a normal phenomenon. There is poor awareness of OSA in society at large.