Sleep apnea linked to depression and insomnia

Doctors can miss this DEADLY condition

It’s not just any old medical mistake.

It’s the kind of error that could have devastating — perhaps even DEADLY — consequences.

And no one will ever realize that your doctor screwed up!

The problem is depression. At least, that’s what HE’LL think. Tell him you’re not quite feeling like yourself and are having some struggles sleeping, and he’ll be absolutely certain you’re battling this mood disorder.

You know what that means: Your doctor will hand you a prescription for an antidepressant and send you on your way, thinking his work is done.

Now, the latest research reveals how he didn’t do his job at all.

He missed a key warning sign of a major undiagnosed health problem — one that quietly affects millions of Americans and can lead to major chronic illness such as heart disease.

It’s sleep apnea, the condition where window-rattling snores are followed by complete silence as you stop breathing. That causes oxygen levels in the body to plunge, depriving vital organs — including the heart and brain — of what they need to function.

The new study of some 700 middle-aged and older men who’d never been diagnosed with sleep apnea found that more than half of them actually had the condition.

That’s no surprise. Most people who have apnea don’t know it, and it’s not something that will show up on any routine test in a doctor’s office.

But depression combined with insomnia could be a major indication, as the new study found that 43 percent of men with both conditions also had sleep apnea.

That means these two symptoms together should be a HUGE red flag.

Yet doctors are missing it!

Now, I’m not saying docs should’ve known all along that insomnia and depression mean the patient has apnea. As far as I know, this study is the first of its kind linking all three conditions at once.

But they SHOULD know that depression ALWAYS has a cause — and when a patient reports feeling down and doesn’t know why, they shouldn’t just write a prescription and send them home.

They need to dig deeper.

In this case, the failure to search for that cause — to actively IGNORE it by giving patients an antidepressant they never even needed — exposes men to serious long-term risks, as sleep apnea can lead to heart attack, stroke, dementia, and more.

And that’s not the only condition that goes undiagnosed when docs turn to antidepressants.

Depression with no obvious cause can be a sign of poor diet and nutrition or even hormonal imbalances, especially in older folks.

If your doc isn’t willing to dig deeper to find and fix the real cause, it’s time to find a doctor who will. I recommend working closely with a holistic physician.

If you’re in the San Diego area, I can help. Make an appointment to see me here at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine.

Not in the area? I’m also available for advice by phone. Call 855-DOC-MARK to schedule a consultation.

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