- 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.
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:
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