Does PTSD contribute to OSA?

Thoughtful woman at home - copyspaceYou may very well know someone who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or maybe you have it. It is often seen in first responders or war veterans, but really it can be seen in anyone who has witnessed or been through something traumatic or dangerous. If you or someone you love has PTSD, you should also know that the risk of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is higher in those with this problem. 

What is PTSD?

PTSD doesn’t just automatically begin as soon as a traumatic event has ended. In some, it can start days, weeks, months, or even many years later. Symptoms of PTSD include nightmares, anxiety, depression, and constant flashbacks to the event. PTSD can interfere with sleep and can eventually lead to serious and chronic health issues, such as high blood pressure. 

What is OSA?

Patients with OSA have symptoms that include being excessively tired during the day (even though you think you got a good night’s sleep the night before), snoring, headaches, difficulty concentrating, and memory problems. OSA is caused by blockage of the airway during sleep, which causes breathing to stop and start again throughout the night. If left untreated, OSA can lead to serious health problems. 


A recent study found that almost 70% of veterans with PTSD are at a high risk of also having OSA. Researchers aren’t positive why the two may be linked, but it may have something to do with patients with PTSD already having sleep problems, which can eventually become more serious and develop into OSA. 

Treatment for OSA

There are treatment options, including medication and therapy, for those with PTSD. And Sleep & Neuroscience Associates has many different treatment options available for OSA, no matter what the cause is. Your doctor may recommend a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which helps your body to get the air it needs while sleeping. Oral appliances, medication, surgery, and cognitive behavior therapy are also options. 

Help is available, for both PTSD and sleep issues. If you aren’t sleeping as well as you should be, call Sleep & Neuroscience Associates in Greenwich, CT, for a consultation. Call 203-653-3519 today!

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