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Sleep apnea and COPD?

By Anonymous September 27, 2008 - 3:07pm
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Is sleep apnea and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease related?

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EmpowHER Guest

I have a close friend that has sleep apnea pretty bad and I know he was a smoker and I really think he has COPD. I just trying to make a connection. Thanks for the information.

September 28, 2008 - 4:18pm

Yes, according to the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (AJRCCM), "Sleep is the period of greatest physiologic disturbance in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and the time of greatest danger to these individuals. Sleep aggravates their abnormalities of gas exchange and causes secondary pulmonary hypertension and cardiac arrhythmias."

In fact, the type of sleep apnea that is called "obstructive sleep apnea" is so common in individuals with COPD that it has its own term "overlap syndrome" due to their coexistence.

COPD is a general term for lung disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Basically the airways are partially obstructed, walls between air sacs may be destroyed, inflamed, or clogged by excess mucus.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs with the relaxation of throat muscles, leading to airway obstruction.

Even just seeing the two definitions, both including the partial obstruction of the airway, can demonstrate the relationship of these two conditions, and how COPD suffers may struggle with getting a good night's rest.

Does that answer your question? Do you, or someone you know, have sleep apnea and/or or COPD?

September 28, 2008 - 1:55pm
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