A recent study of 195 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans found a connection between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The study participants were seeking evaluation for PTSD at an outpatient VA clinic, where their sleep quality and habits were also assessed.
Of the 195 veterans, 69.2 percent were at high risk for OSA, and the study showed that the risk increased in tandem with the severity of veterans’ PTSD symptoms. According to the researchers, every clinically significant increase in PTSD symptoms added a 40 percent increase in the probability that a veteran would score high on the sleep apnea risk assessment.
Researchers are now pushing for sleep apnea screenings as a routine part of veterans’ health and wellness assessments, especially when a veteran is diagnosed with PTSD. Catching sleep apnea early allows better treatment and reduces the risk of the veteran developing many of the health conditions associated with recurrent OSA.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine estimates there are 25 million adults in the U.S. affected by OSA. If left untreated, OSA can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, depression, and worsening of PTSD symptoms. Warning signs of sleep apnea include excessive snoring, choking or gasping while asleep, and pauses in breathing during sleep.
PTSD is one of the many health conditions that may be associated with military service. Veterans with service-connected disabilities have a right to seek disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and Veterans Help Group® can help. Call today – 1-855-855-8992.