Hypopnea | Hypopnea Syndrome | Hypopnea Treatment


Hypopnea is defined as drop in airflow. Hypopnea syndrome is a sleep disorder in which a person repetitively stops breathing, or experiences low breathing for short periods of time during sleep.

These episodes can occur as often as 300 times a night, and can disturb a person's quantity and quality of sleep, resulting in excessive sleepiness.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea-Hypopnea Syndrome

Obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome (OSAHS) is characterized by both intermittent total collapse of the upper airway and extreme reductions in blood oxygen levels during sleep.

The sleeping person becomes incapable to breathe and awakens with each collapse. The quality of sleep is reduced considerably as the result of severe sleep breakup.

Hypopnea is a disorder results in excessive daytime sleepiness and compromised quality of life, including repetitive traffic accidents, diminished productivity in the work place and emotional problems.

Cardiovascular consequences of hypopnea include myocardial infarction, stroke, psychiatric problems, impotence, cognitive dysfunction, hypertension, coronary heart disease, and memory loss.

Hypopnea Symptoms

The most common hypopnea symptom is excessive sleepiness, which results from constant sleep interruption. People with hypopnea often have loud; heavy snoring that is interrupted with choking sounds or loud snorts followed by periods of silence, because not enough air can flow into the lungs through the mouth and nose.

The periods of silence can last 20 seconds or longer and can happen many times each hour, resulting in poor sleep and reduced levels of oxygen in the blood.

Other symptoms of hypopnea include:

  • Depression
  • Forgetfulness
  • Mood or behavior changes
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Loss of energy
  • Nervousness
  • Morning headaches

Not all people with hypopnea experience all of these symptoms and not everyone who has these symptoms has hypopnea.

Risk Factors Of Hypopnea

If hypopnea is not treated, serious health problems can occur, including:

  • Impotence
  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Memory loss
  • Hypertension
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

Hypopnea Treatment

Mild hypopnea can often be treated by losing weight or by avoiding sleeping on your back. CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure is the most common treatment for hypopnea.

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a treatment in which the patient wears a mask over the nose and/or mouth. An air blower forces air through the upper airway.

The air pressure is adjusted so that it is just enough to avoid the upper airway tissues from collapsing during sleep but apnea episodes return when CPAP is stopped or it is used improperly.

CPAP can also help reduce the excessive sleepiness people experience during the day. This device must be worn every night to be efficient. PROVIGIL can be used in addition to CPAP to treat excessive sleepiness when CPAP does not work properly.


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