Sleep Disordered Breathing: What Does It Mean?

Sleep disordered breathing or SDB is an all-encompassing term that describes a wide range of sleep disorders characterized by abnormal breathing patterns (pauses during sleep), quantum of ventilation, increased upper airway resistance including snoring, upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS), and obstructive sleep apnea–hypopnea syndrome (OSAHS). In other words, sleep disordered breathing could mean a spectrum of diseases.

Features, causes and some health conditions linked with sleep disordered breathing: 

–          Obstructive sleep apnea is one of the common associations. Sleep disturbances caused by recurrent pauses in breathing and the need to arouse for resumption of ventilation results in daytime sleepiness and diminished neuro-cognitive performance as well as negative cardiovascular situations.  This health condition is associated with several adverse consequences, including an increased risk of death.

–          It could also contribute to insulin resistance and other metabolic syndromes.

–          Cheyne-Stokes respiration, a type of SDB, is commonly present during sleep in patients with congestive heart failure.

–          Snoring is one of the most common aspects and manifestations of SDB.

–          Excessive weight is an acknowledged predictor of this condition. Research has shown its increased occurrence with increase of BMI, neck girth, and other body measurements.

–          Prevalence of undiagnosed SDB is higher in men than women. When left untreated it leads to daytime sleepiness.

–          This disorder is further aggravated by alcohol consumption.

–          Despite of high awareness, 93% women and 82% men with proven signs of SDB remain undiagnosed.

–          Some of the causes include nasal obstruction, improper functioning of thyroid gland, and smoking, use of sedatives and menopause in women and high levels of testosterone in men.

Sleep disordered breathing in children 

While the primary cause of SDB in children is enlarged tonsils and adenoids, snoring and sleep apnea are the two main symptoms witnessed in children. The disorder, which according to researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, might result in behavioral problems including hyperactivity and aggressiveness, as well as emotional and friendship difficulties, usually peaks in children between 2 and 6 year old, but can also happen earlier.

According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Health and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS), close to 10% of children snore regularly and 2 to 4% have sleep apnea, direct consequences of SDB.

How prevalent is SDB in America

The condition affects 4% men, 2% women, and 2% children between the age group of 8 and 11.   Symptoms include snoring, frequent pauses in breathing and restless sleep. There is usually partial or complete cessation of breathing, recurring several times in the night that majorly disrupts a person’s quality of life, and ability to function properly during the day.

How can sleep disordered breathing be prevented or managed? 

The main reason why the disorder remains undiagnosed or late diagnosed is the lack of recognition of the disorder both by patients and the doctor. Preventing weight gain, abstinence from alcohol, quitting smoking is critical in preventing the onset of the condition. Alcohol as well as certain medications over-relaxes the muscles of the airways, deadening arousal response, thus allowing the condition to get worse with greater desaturations.

If the condition is caused by nasal obstruction, the underlying condition ought to be treated.

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field