Hypopnea is a condition that describes extremely limited breathing during sleep attributable to a restricted airway. The airway becomes like a crimped hose, restricted but not completely obstructed. As air rushes in, the soft palate, uvula and throat vibrate. This causes snoring. This is problematic because oxygen levels decline, sleep is often interrupted which damages health and well being. The consequence of hypopnea is that the sufferer often awakes fatigued.
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)
Central sleep apnea is when the brain stops sending nerve signals to the muscles that control breathing. Patients with Central Sleep Apnea simply stop breathing because the muscles are shut down. Unlike Obstructive Sleep Apnea, with Central Sleep Apnea there is no blockage. Nerve impulses are simply not being sent from the brain to initiate breathing. Central Sleep Apnea is a lack of breathing effort. If you have CSA, don’t worry, the brain can eventually send signals to the muscles. These muscles can be restarted.
Although hypopnea does not involve complete airway obstruction and events of apnea, it is a serious condition and should be treated.
A proper diagnosis of sleep apnea and which type of sleep apnea you have is essential. An inaccurate diagnosis and the inappropriate and ineffective treatment that results can be dangerous to your health.
Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS)
When the snoring and resistance through the airway is significant enough to disrupt the quality of sleep without apnea events, we call this disorder “Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome” or UARS.
Patients can have both Central Sleep Apnea and Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome is caused by narrow, restricted airway passages. Typically, the airway of a person with UARS is restricted or reduced in size due to certain anatomical features, such as a narrow face, jaw structure and a high vaulted hard palate. This causes breathing to be labored. It’s a little like sleeping every night with a very bad head cold or severe nasal allergies.
“Very happy with the appliance. I feel a lot more energetic throughout the day. Waking up in the morning has been a lot easier. Thank you.”
– Matteo A. Gaudio
The profile of an UARS sufferer:
- Between the ages of 20 – 50
- Extremely sleepy during the day
- Feeling fatigued and always tired
- Trouble waking up
- Reliance on caffeine
- In good shape and not overweight
- Trouble breathing through the mouth
- Sleepiness despite a full night’s sleep
A dental sleep oral appliance can help sufferers of Upper Airway Restriction UARS. Newer dental devices are now being designed with mechanisms to dilate the nasal passages, open the upper airway and improve breathing through the nose. Medication and surgery are sometimes used as treatments for this sleep disorder, but often provide limited and short term benefits.