Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Nocturnal asthma and sleep apnea

Breathing or lack of it at night is a common sign of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea, which has only become recognized as a sleep disorder the last few decades, is caused by blockage in the back of the throat, by loose tissues in the throat or enlarged tonsils and tongue. A rarer version of sleep apnea called central sleep apnea is caused by signals sent to the brain. While sleep apnea is becoming more prevalent you need to check with your doctor to make sure it isn’t something else besides OSA. One possible condition could be nocturnal asthma.

What is nocturnal asthma?
According to nocturnal asthma is “when asthma symptoms arise during the night. About 75% of people with asthma have symptoms that disrupt both the length and depth of their nighttime sleep at least once a week – a condition called nocturnal asthma.”

Nocturnal asthma can be caused by such things as a narrow airway which can trigger night time coughing. Allergens may also have an effect on nocturnal asthma. GERD can an influence on this as well.

Nocturnal asthma and sleep apnea are similar in many ways and often folks with one disorder also have the other. In fact nocturnal asthma can be confused with sleep apnea because of sleep interruption and the effect of lower oxygen. Since using the CPAP machine is the most popular way to cure sleep apnea it has also been shown that it will help with the nocturnal asthma as well.

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  1. Good day.

    Thanks for your post on nocturnal asthma. It is a very interesting post.

    I am a sleep Apnea patient and have been on the CPAP for 13 years.

    I am comfortable with my current treatment, being a combination of allergy medication, an Auto PAP, heated humidification and a heated tubing. The cleaning materials like ammonia were cut out. Especially for my child with asthma.

    Thanks for the very informative post.

  2. Hello, I just found this article, and really give some relief. I am being treated for sleep apnea the last 5 years, which every year I feel is getting worse. Recently I was diagnosed with asthma and started using ventolin and advair pump as well with some anti-allergic medicine. I am feeling so miserable, my mornings are hell! I wake up with the most horrible headache, and all my shoulder's muscles are tight. Two nights ago I decided to rub a lot of Bengay from my neck to my lower back, use my ashma medicine and go to sleep without my CPAP, for my surprise i slept better! tonight will be my third night and my hopes are so high. I really want to get rid of this machine, I really want to believe that I have a really bad uncontrolled asthma and the worse swollen airway a person can have, my expectations are to have that nocturnal ashma you mention .I firmly want to believe this will be easier to control and I dont need the cpap anymore. I will appreciatte any comments regarding this.

  3. I can't really say because I'm not a doctor but you should definitely go to your doctor and ask.
    good luck and stay in touch.