Sleep Disorders – What You Must Know

Sleep Disorder Society Malaysia

Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders (SRBD)

SRBD (or SDB) primarily related to the abnormal breathing during sleep causing your sleep to be interrupted. Among other sleep disorders, SRBD is the most common disorders reported to be affected almost 8 out of 10 people in random population. SRBD can further be categorised into obstructive sleep apnea syndromes (OSAS), central sleep apnea syndromes (CSA) and sleep-related hypoventilation syndromes.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndromes (OSAS)
OSA is a serious yet common sleep disorder / sleep apnea among adults and kids. Your upper airway repeatedly becomes blocked, and you’ll stop breathing. When this occurs, you might make choking noises or will snore loudly. You wake up as your body and brain are oxygen deprived. You may find this happens once or twice a night. However, it can happen hundreds of times a night in severe cases.

Common Signs & Symptoms for OSA:

  • You wake up during the night with a dry or a sore throat
  • You snore loudly
  • You wake up from time to time gasping or choking
  • You feel extremely sleepy during the day
  • You lack energy in general
  • You suffer from morning headaches
  • You feel tired and irritable
  • You feel difficulty concentrating
  • You suffer from memory problems
  • You need to urinate frequently at night (nocturia)
  • Your blood pressure increased
  • You suffer from decreased libido

Why your airway becomes blocked?
This might caused by a several causes, which the most common is by your soft tissue in the upper airway are “too soft” causing it to relaxed and blocked the airway when you lie down. Someone with larger tongue also have a high risk to develop sleep apnea because the tongue will blocked the airway when they lie down during sleep.

In adults, excess weight is the strongest risk factor associated with OSA. Each unit increase in BMI is associated with a 14% increased risk of developing sleep apnea. Obese people usually have a neck circumference of over 17 inches or 43 cm. Their soft tissue of the mouth and throat will become more relaxed during sleep and blocked the upper airway.

If you have enlarged tonsils or adenoids, you might have worsen sleep apnea. Infections may cause these glands to enlarge. Large adenoids may completely block the nasal passages and make breathing through the nose difficult or impossible. A narrow nasal passage, or the presence of nasal polyps may also caused sleep apnea by blocking your upper airway.

In children, enlarged tonsils and adenoids became the most common cause for OSA.

People with underdevelop jaw i.e retrognathia – lower jaw is set further back than the upper jaw, or micrognathia – undersized jaw, also are very common to develop sleep apnea. These usually caused by their upper airway becomes narrow leading to a breathing difficulty.