Three Main Sleep Disordered Breathing Problems

The term sleep disordered breathing relates to a number of breathing related problems that may occur while sleeping. These would include breathing related abnormalities such as snoring or breaks in breathing which are known as apnea.

The anomalies could be caused due to a number of reasons and one of them is obesity. It is believed that gaining more weight can be the prime reason for such sleep disordered breathing problems. Out of these the 3 main problems are discussed in detail here.


Of all the sleep disordered breathing problems, this is the one which gets the most attention from a suffering spouse. The truth is that the noisy snores that your partner gives out each night do more than just disturb your sleep.

They are an indication of a medical condition that the spouse is suffering from. Snoring occurs when there are changes in the upper airway region from the nasopharynx to the laryngopharynx.

A sound emanates from the region of the membranous portion of the upper airway, like uvula, soft palate and pharyngeal walls that lack cartilaginous support. Snoring usually is not due to any cardiovascular disease. The non invasive treatments that can work include the use of nasal dilators, or tongue-retaining devices, or other piece of equipment that can be fixed or adjusted.


Upper airway resistance syndrome or UARS

In this sleep disordered breathing medical condition there is a history of sleep which is not restful. The breathing troubles do not allow the patient to get a good night’s rest despite sleeping the mandatory eight hours. This is the cause for the excessive day time sleepiness that the patient feels. The main reason for UARS is the resistance in the upper air track that leads to increased negative esophageal inspiratory pressure.

In UARS the snoring pattern is called “crescendo snoring”. After the snoring episode finishes an arousal comes with rapid decrease in the upper airway resistance. The snoring now stops for a period. The episodes are short and usually take the duration or one to three breaths to complete. The ideal treatment could relieve symptoms and includes options such as surgery, oral appliances and believe it or not, losing weight.

Obstructive sleep apnea or OSA

The medical condition known as the obstructive sleep apnea is not a new one, but it is a sleep disordered breathing problem which has been recently recognized in its own right. It is characterized by partial or complete obstruction of the airway during the time the patient is asleep, which in turn leads to the repeated collapse of the pharynx.

This makes the person get up to reestablish the flow of air in the breathing passage giving the patient a very disturbed sleep. The arousals are related to the respiratory effort to deal with the cessation of airflow in the system. The treatment is aimed at widening the pharyngeal airway and includes options such as surgery, oral devices and using CPAP.