Sleep apnea is a common disorder characterized by abnormal breathing while you sleep. (What Is Sleep Apnea?, 2022) Obstructive sleep apnea is progressively becoming more widely recognized as a risk factor for several clinical outcomes, such as systemic hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and altered glucose metabolism.
(Naresh M., 2007) Meanwhile, your body’s reaction to physical health problems, tension, and other factors is an anxiety disorder. Men are less likely than women to experience anxiety disorders. (Julian M Somers, Elliot M Goldner, Lorena, Paul Waraich, 2006)
Many people are concerned about the correlation between anxiety and sleep apnea. So below, we will talk about Is sleep apnea and anxiety same? Or does anxiety causes sleep apnea? and more beneficial facts.
How are sleep APNEA and ANXIETY different?
The most common answer is No. They may be related to each other to some extent but not under similar conditions. Anxiety prevalence ranged from 11 to 70% in a survey of 55 researches from 1995 to 2006 focused on sadness and depression in OSA patients. (T. Saunamäki,M. Jehkonen, 2007) Let’s learn the detailed relationship between both in the below section.
Does anxiety contribute to obstructive sleep apnea?
Stressors in life increase the risk of OSA; however, anxiety itself does not produce OSA. Obstructive sleep apnea may not be caused by anxiety, yet it can still lead to sleep problems.
- According to the analysis of research on sleep in anxiety-related disorders, anxiety may impact your sleep, including how long and how deeply you sleep each night.(Rebecca C Cox, Bunmi O Olatunji, 2020)
- Polysomnographic findings revealed that most patients with anxiety and choking (66.7% and 71.4%, respectively) had severe OSAS.(Fariborz Rezaeitalab, Fatemeh Moharrari, Soheila Saberi, Hadi Asadpour, Fariba Rezaeetalab, 2014)
- Studies have shown that OSAS patients with severe OSAS and high BMI experienced anxiety more frequently.(Fariborz Rezaeitalab, Fatemeh Moharrari, […], and Fariba Rezaeetalab, 2014)
Can sleep apnea cause anxiety attacks?
It’s challenging to say whether sleep apnea leads to anxiety. Even though suffering from one illness does not necessarily indicate you get the latter, it seems logical that someone with sleep apnea is more likely to have anxiety. An apparent “panic” signal reaches the brain, awakening the body and causing it to start breathing again. Sleep apnea anxiety attacks are triggered by this, which stops the person from sleeping well.
A study published in the journal SLEEP sheds light on the relationship between anxiety and sleep apnea. The study found that people with sleep apnea had a “much larger incidence” of mood disorders, anxiety (16.7%), posttraumatic stress disorder, psychosis, and dementia than those who had not yet received a diagnosis. (Amir Sharafkhaneh , Nilgun Giray, Peter Richardson, Terry Young, Max Hirshkowitz, 2005)
Another study found that women with a significant risk of OSA had a greater likelihood of experiencing antepartum depression, generalized anxiety, and PTSD symptoms than those with a low risk of the condition. (Elia Rubio, Elizabeth J Levey, Marta B Rondon, Lauren Friedman, Sixto E Sanchez, Michelle A Williams, Bizu Gelaye, 2022)
Hence, the more frequently a person suffers interrupted sleep, the more significant the impact on their thoughts and mood.
Sleep apnea and risk of panic disorder
The worst form of anxiety disorder is a panic disorder in which recurrent panic attacks occur. As panic attacks are directly related to anxiety and may cause sleep disorders, we can estimate that sleep apnea is associated with panic disorder. According to research on the relationship between sleep apnea and panic attacks, those with the condition have more panic attacks than others. (Vincent Yi-Fong Su, MD, Yung-Tai Chen, MD, […], and Kun-Ta Chou, MD, 2015)
Does treating sleep apnea help with anxiety?
Sleep apnea can be harmful if left untreated, regardless of whether it intensifies or produces your anxiety. Sleep apnea might have a terrible influence on your mental health in addition to having a terrible impact on your physical health. According to estimates, 1.5 million people in the UK suffer from sleep apnea, and up to 85% of cases go untreated.
The first-line treatment of sleep apnea is CPAP. (Brian Rotenberg,Claudio Vicini, 2016) It has been noted that treating sleep apnea will reduce anxiety and depression directly. Anxiety and despair ratings are dramatically improved with CPAP therapy. (Carolina Panadero Paz et al., 2017) Treatment for sleep apnea has been linked to a reduction in anxiety symptoms, which makes sense given that the two diseases are mutually reinforcing. (Ragnhild Stokke Lundetræ, Ingvild West Saxvig, Sverre Lehmann & Bjørn Bjorvatn, 2020)
Besides CPAP, this condition can be treated using alternative options such as oral appliances and effective management. The research concluded that, in contrast to CPAP, patients choose oral appliances and mandibular advancement devices, and these oral appliances can aid in the management of OSA. (Tahereh Hosseinzadeh Nik, 2011) However, this treatment is only beneficial when it is truly utilized. (Reza Radmand, Harmeet Chiang, Massimiliano Di Giosia, M. T. Galang-Boquiren, Rosemarie Rohatgi, David Silk, Olivier M. Vanderveken, Michael Adame, 2021) If you are experiencing both conditions, it would be highly preferred to seek treatment for anxiety and sleep apnea.
Does health insurance cover sleep apnea treatment?
As is frequently the case with Medicare, some requirements must be completed before Medicare will cover the cost of your dental appliances for sleep apnea. Different conditions can exist from other insurance companies in this regard.
- When calculating your eligibility for CPAP treatment coverage, insurance carriers often consider your apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) into account.
- For CPAP therapy, you need authorization from your doctor. According to guidelines issued by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM), patients experiencing symptoms of OSA must undergo a face-to-face examination by a sleep medicine physician for diagnosis purposes, and they prescribe oral appliances. (Ramar K, Dort LC, Katz SG, Lettieri CJ, Harrod CG, Thomas SM, Chervin RD., 2015)
- The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) demand documentation that you are utilizing the device at least 4 hours per night, 70% of the time, for a continuous 30 days to be qualified for coverage.(Sreelatha Naik, Moh’d Al-Halawani, Iouri Kreinin, Meir Kryger, 2019)
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