• Atoosa H. Bigvand

Sleep Disorders and their Management

Updated: Aug 8


The term sleep-disordered breathing encircles a spectrum of abnormalities, including snoring, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) [occurs when breathing is interrupted during sleep], central sleep apnea (CSA) [disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep], respiratory-related arousals, and hypoventilation [breathing that is too shallow or too slow to meet the needs of the body].


There are risk factors for sleep apnea such as:

  • Excess weight (obesity greatly increases the risk of sleep apnea)

  • Larger neck circumference (people with thicker necks might have narrower airways)

  • A narrowed airway

  • Being of the male sex

  • Increasing age

  • Family history

  • Use of alcohol, sedatives, or tranquilizers

  • Smoking

In OSA, individuals may present with classic symptoms, including snoring, unrefreshing sleep, choking arousals, poor sleep quality, and reduced neurocognitive functioning.

In-laboratory polysomnography (PSG) remains accurate for the diagnosis of sleep apnoea (both obstructive and central).


Management


OSA is highly prevalent in overweight or obese individuals, being as obesity is a major risk factor for OSA. Therefore, maintaining a healthy diet, lifestyle, and body weight are significant even for mild cases of OSA. Positional therapy is another way to manage it. Some OSA cases show more frequent and severe respiratory events when lying supine ( lying face upward, while very few events occur while sleeping in other positions. Mandible Advancement Device (MAD), another management option, enlarges and stabilizes the upper airway, decreasing snoring and the occurrence of obstructive respiratory events (costume made). However, CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is the mainstay of OSA treatment, especially in patients with moderate-severe forms of the disease based on the frequency of respiratory events during sleep. CPAP therapy is a common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. It is a machine that uses a hose connected to a nosepiece which looks like a mask to deliver constant and steady air pressure to help individuals breathe while they sleep. This treatment in adults with OSA significantly decreases disease severity and sleepiness.

Disturbed sleep and sleep disorders should be taken care of and require professional medical attention. Good sleep is significant in human health and The impact of severe untreated sleep disorders on life expectancy is profound. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, studies have established that sleep apnea typically decreases life expectancy by several years. Therefore, it is crucial that sleep apnea be dealt with.

 

Speaking Plainly:

  • The term sleep-disordered breathing encircles a spectrum of abnormalities, including snoring, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), central sleep apnea (CSA), respiratory-related arousals, and hypoventilation.

  • In-laboratory polysomnography (PSG) remains accurate for the diagnosis of sleep apnea.

  • There are different interventions for sleep disorders based on the diagnosis and cause of it.