Asthma and Sleep Apnea
Sounds of wheezing followed quickly by a spritz and a big inhale. The typical course of treatment for someone who is asthmatic and just lived through an attack. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), close to 18.9 million Americans today suffer from asthma, which is a chronic condition of the lungs characterized by acute episodes of inflammation. During an asthma attack, the individual’s airway becomes inflamed and irritated, and the response is a constriction, which makes it extremely hard to breathe. Various triggers will cause an asthma attack such as:
- Allergic reactions to pollutants, pollen, mold, dust, animal dander, etc.
- Upper respiratory infections/colds
- Cigarette smoke
Asthma attacks can happen day and night. In fact, while sufferers try to sleep they might be plagued by coughing, wheezing and constantly try to catch their breath. Now add to the mix the potential to also suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), then there is cause for great concern. OSA is a medical condition whereby a person’s airway is partially or totally blocked while attempting to sleep at night. The severity of OSA is defined by the number of instances that breathing pauses occur during each hour of sleep with the most severe being over 30 times and lasting as long as 60 seconds.
Does Asthma Increase OSA Risk?
Launched in the late 1980s, the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort has been evaluating the theory that asthmatics were much more likely to develop OSA. Over the years, the results of the study demonstrated that there was a 41 percent incidence of OSA in asthmatics versus only a 29 percent incidence in those participants who did not suffer from asthma. The researchers also discovered that participants who were diagnosed with asthma as a child were twice as likely to develop OSA as an adult. And lastly the group was able to demonstrate that the length of time since original diagnosis increased the risk of developing OSA.
If you have been wondering whether or not your asthma might be affecting or an indication of sleep apnea, contact one of our medical concierges today at 1-855-863-4537 or schedule a free consultation when it’s convenient for you.