If you are one of the millions of people
suffering from a form of sleep disordered breathing, it is imperative
that you get the diagnosis and treatment you need to enable you to
sleep properly, otherwise your condition could eventually lead to
other, potentially more dangerous consequences for your
of health and well-being.
is a general term that can be applied to any breathing or
respiratory problems that occur specifically while sleeping and result
in disruption of sleep
or lowered quality of sleep. Some of the
disorders in this group are quite rare, while others rank among the
most common sleeping disorders.
more, these various breathing
problems can be caused
by a wide range of factors, including mental
issues, central nervous system disorders, and even simple physical or
environmental factors such as being overweight or drinking alcohol
before going to sleep.
the most common of all types of sleep disordered breathing is
sleep apnea. This disorder is characterized by complete
cessations in breathing for short periods during the
night, which are
caused by an obstruction of the upper respiratory path.
source of the obstruction can vary quite widely, and can be anything
from having too large of a tongue or a deviated nasal septum to simply
having too much excess fat around the neck and chest or taking certain
drugs or medications such as narcotics, sedatives, or alcohol.
- Central Sleep
apnea is closely related to obstructive sleep apnea, as both
result in the person repeatedly fully stopping breathing throughout the
night. However, central sleep apnea is a much more rare condition,
which results from some other medical condition that interferes with
the brain's ability to properly regulate
conditions known to contribute to central sleep apnea include strokes,
congestive heart failure, damage to the brain, brain stem, or spinal
cord, and other neurological or muscular problems and disorders. In
addition, it may also be a result of long term usage of certain drugs
and medication such as narcotics and opiates.
Another common form of
SDB is sleep
hypopnea, which is similar to sleep apnea, except that in
this case there is only
a reduction in breathing rate or level instead
of a full pause. These episodes can last anywhere from a few short
seconds to well over a minute. Again, they are typically caused by
obstructions of the airways, although there are also many
of central sleep hypopnea as well.
respiration (CSR) is another sleep breathing disorder
that results in increased
and then decreased breathing
can be caused by a variety of different
congestive heart failure and any resulting physiological abnormalities;
damage to the brain stem which affects the respiratory center; and
acute high altitude exposure (normally above 15,000 feet).
both during the day and night, and there is some debate as to whether
or not nighttime Cheyne-Stokes respiration should be grouped together
with central sleep apnea. However, not all forms of CSR result in a
total cessation of breathing, so most doctors agree that they are two
of Sleep Disordered Breathing
mentioned previously, one of the biggest long term effects of sleep
breathing disorders is sleep deprivation, which can in turn cause a
whole host of other health problems. The majority of people with
suffering from any form of SDB often complain about feeling fatigued
and a constant lack of energy. Still, this is far from the
The total cessations or
reductions in breathing that result from the various forms of SDB
result in hypoxia,
a condition where the level of oxygen in the bloodstream drops below
normal levels. This resulting drop in blood oxygen concentration is one
of the major factors leading to the various other health risks
associated with SDB.
as breathing decreases or stops and the level of oxygen in
the blood stream goes down, the level of carbon dioxide in the blood
stream rises to above normal levels. This condition, known
produces a natural reflex in the body which normally
results in the person waking up for a brief moment so that they can
resume normal breathing functions.
in some cases this reflex
can fail to be triggered, which can be fatal. Although this is
extremely rare, it has been known to happen, especially in cases of
central sleep apnea or where the SDB is a result of taking sedative or
hypnotic drugs and medications.
and Treating Sleep Disordered Breathing
order to properly diagnose SDB and determine what is causing it, it
is normally necessary to undergo
a sleep study, where you will spend a
night in a sleep
clinic, connected to machines which continuously
measure certain vital signs, most importantly your rate of breathing
and the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide concentration in your blood.
your doctor looks at the results, they will then determine which
sleep breathing disorder you are suffering from, before finalizing a
course of treatment for your disorder. The actual treatment will vary
both on the type of SDB you have and how severe it is.
is determined that you suffer from a more severe sleep breathing
disorder, you will most likely be told you will need to use a CPAP or
Bi-PAP machine while sleeping.
machine will force a continuous
flow of air into your lungs, allowing you to continue breathing
properly throughout the night and resulting in an increased quality of
to Causes of Sleep
to the Snoring