Sleep breathing disorders move well beyond the range of snores and other noises one might make or hear at night, and include a wide range of conditions--some common, some not--all of which are critical to treat. These include many kinds of health problems related to getting enough oxygen while asleep, such as:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea || OSA (a mechanical disorder of the upper airway)
- Central Sleep Apnea || CSA (various problems with brain function related to sleep drive and maintenance)
- Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome || UARS (due to issues like crowded airways, allergies, deviated septum, swollen turbinates, etc.)
- Hypoventilation problems related to existing respiratory issues such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], asthma, pneumothorax, or hypoventilation caused by high altitude, etc)
- Neuromuscular disorders, which can impact the body's ability to breathe properly (scoliosis, or myasthenia gravis)
If you notice a loved one struggling to get adequate sleep at night, don't ignore it. Talk to them about your concerns. Encourage them to speak to a physician. Most sleep breathing disorders are treatable, and once treated, those who've suffered stand to feel much better and maybe even improve key health measures, like blood pressure, by doing so.