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Sleep-related breathing disorders 

Sleep-related breathing disorders
Chapter:
Sleep-related breathing disorders
Author(s):

Mary J. Morrell

, Julia Kelly

, Alison McMillan

, and Matthew Hind

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198746690.003.0408
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date: 02 March 2021

Obstructive sleep apnoea and other sleep-related breathing problems significantly impair the functioning of about 0.5–1% of the population. Obstructive sleep apnoea in adults is usually caused by obesity and fat deposits in the neck area (typically collar size of 17 inches (43 cm) or more), when the withdrawal of postural muscle tone during sleep allows the pharyngeal dilators to be overwhelmed, leading to excessive narrowing or collapse of the airway, with consequent apnoea and sleep fragmentation. Mild symptoms may resolve with lifestyle changes such as losing weight; learning to sleep on the side and avoiding sleeping on the back; no alcohol after 18.00 h; no sedatives; stopping smoking; keeping the nose as clear as possible. There is only one fully effective therapy for moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnoea—continuous positive airway pressure.

Vascular mortality is higher than average, although recent data have questioned this link.

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