- What Is It?
What is a sleep-disordered breathing condition?
Sleep disorders that cause difficulty in breathing during sleep are known as sleep-disordered breathing conditions. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep-disordered breathing condition. Other disorders of this type are as follows:
- Obstructive sleep apnea: This results in the obstruction of the air passage. This results in cessation of breath during sleep.
- Snoring: This occurs when the flow of breathing makes the tissue of the throat vibrate, creating a loud noise.
- Central sleep apnea: This causes the body to stop breathing during sleep in an off-and-on cycle.
- Sleep-related groaning: It occurs as a prolonged sound that resembles groaning while exhaling during sleep.
Who are at risk of getting sleep-disordered breathing conditions?
Patients with the following conditions are at an increased risk of getting sleep-disordered breathing:
- Large neck circumference (more than 40 cm)
- Retrognathia (back-set jaw)
- Macroglossia (large tongue)
- Small mandible (lower jaw of the teeth) and maxilla (upper jaw of the teeth)
- Overbite (overlapping of lower teeth by the upper)
- Enlarged tonsils
- Elongated and low-lying uvula
- Reduced nasal opening
- Abnormalities in the facial structure
Additionally, poor sleep hygiene and excessive alcohol or sedative use can contribute to sleep-disordered breathing.
Men are at a higher risk of acquiring these disorders compared with women.
What are the symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing conditions?
The symptoms can be classified as those manifesting during the daytime and those manifesting during the nighttime.
- The symptoms occurring during sleep are
- Loud snoring
- Diaphoresis (sweating)
- Nocturia (urination at night)
- Teeth grinding
- Vivid or strange dreams
- Nocturnal restlessness
- Insomnia with frequent awakenings
- Gastroesophageal reflux
- Choking attacks
The symptoms observed during the daytime are:
How does a physician diagnose sleep-disordered breathing?
The physician performs a physical examination and may ask about your medical history and sleep history.
- Polysomnogram is a sleep study that requires you to stay at a sleep center overnight.
- Multiple sleep latency tests (MSLT) measures your daytime sleepiness.
- Lab tests such as thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) may be performed.
- Radiologic tests such as computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to identify obstruction sites.
How is sleep-disordered breathing treated?
Nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the most effective method to manage sleep-disordered breathing. It delivers air pressure through a mask while sleeping. The air pressure is somewhat higher than the surrounding air and is enough to keep the upper airways open.
Management of sleep-disordered breathing includes the following other drugs:
- Alteration of body positioning during sleep: sleeping on the back helps to solve this problem
- Elimination of contributory factors such as obesity, alcohol, and sedatives
- Use of a mouthpiece to correct snoring or obstructive sleep apnea
- Medications such as Vivactil (protriptyline) or Provigil (modafinil)
- Aminophylline, Diamox (acetazolamide), L-tryptophan, Narcan (naloxone), Lioresal (baclofen), bromocriptine, Anafranil (clomipramine) and Compazine (prochlorperazine) have been tried with limited success.
Diamox (acetazolamide) in patients with obstructive sleep apnea and comorbid hypertension found that this agent reduced blood pressure, vascular stiffness, and sleep-
What sleep-disordered breathing conditions are treated with a CPAP machine?
A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine treats the following sleep-disordered breathing conditions:
- Obstructive sleep apnea
CPAP also reduces the following conditions in patients with obstructive sleep apnea:
- Risk of heart failure
- Daytime sleepiness
- Blood pressure
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