Asthma & Sleep Apnea
There have been studies correlating sleep apnea and asthma. Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder characterized by disruption in breathing as a person sleeps. The pauses are called apneas, and it can last in a period of time that normal breathing is disrupted, causing the person to skip one or more breaths. Doctors have categorized Sleep apneas to have caused a 10 second pause between breaths, and this should cause a neurological arousal or a desaturation of blood oxygen of 3 to 4 percent or more. Both neurological arousal and blood oxygen desaturation can also occur at the same time.
There are three kinds of sleep apneas: obstructive, central and complex. It has been estimated that 84% of sleep apneas are obstructive, 0.4% central, and 15% complex. Obstructive, which is the most common, is caused by the physical block to airflow despite the body’s efforts to breathe. Central sleep apnea has something to do with how the brain signals the body to breath, and the miscommunication interrupts the breathing. Complex sleep apnea is actually the combination of both obstructive and central, which means the two kinds of sleep apneas transition to one another.
The problem with sleep apnea, however, is the person’s inability to recognize that he or she has it, even if the person suddenly wakes up in the middle of the night. Usually, sleep apneas are identified by other people who witnesses the person’s sleeping habits. Some people who suffer from sleep apnea might go on without knowing they have it for years or even decades. Though rarely fatal, sleep apnea causes anxiety, fatigue and sleepiness during the morning.
Asthma, on the other hand, is more recognizable by many since it is largely hereditary and easily diagnosed. Though the two might be entirely different, this does not mean that they are not correlated. According to the University of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, young women who have asthma are twice likely to develop sleep apnea. They noticed that young women with asthma snores a lot while sleeping, and one of the best indicators that a person has sleep apnea is habitual snoring. Many people often disregard snoring in young adults as indicators of sleep apnea, since many have the notion that sleep apnea only affects older people (especially men). In fact, there are many groups of people who are susceptible to sleep apnea, and the researchers in the University of Cincinnati have correlated respiratory complications (due to smoking, asthma or otherwise) with sleep apnea.
Other studies also have found that asthma can cause other sleeping disorders other than sleep apnea. A support of this theory is that many asthmatics have reported sleepiness during daytime, which is an indicator of sleep apnea. However, patients who have both sleep apnea and asthma have found relief from their asthma when they were treated for their sleep apneas. The trouble with this theory is that researches have yet to concretely correlate both sleep apnea and asthma. Though many studies have indicated that there is a connection, until they find a definite link between the two, they will still have yet to find a better way to treat both conditions.
|By Ryan English|