Sleep-related Hypoventilation

Last updated: May 20, 2019

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The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Read our full medical disclaimer.

Sleep-related hypoventilation is a breathing-related sleeping disorder. In most cases, this disorder appears simultaneously with other sleep disorders. This disorder restricts a patient’s breathing. This leads to low levels of oxygen in the blood. It can also cause increased levels of carbon dioxide in the blood. Sleep-related hypoventilation can occur independently. However, it more commonly occurs with other medical or neurological disorders. It can also occur together with substance abuse. It can even occur with the routine use of prescribed medications.

What are the symptoms of sleep-related hypoventilation?

This is a disorder that can afflict anyone. It can affect people of all ages and can even occur in babies and young people. The signs and symptoms of this disorder may vary from person to person. The absence of any of the symptoms below doesn’t mean that a person doesn’t have sleep-related hypoventilation. A significant number of patients with this disorder exhibited just a few of the symptoms. Mild symptoms may manifest in the early stages of the disorder.

Sleep-related hypoventilation is a progressive disease. It can become a more serious hypoventilation disorder. This disorder can also lead to other and more serious health issues like heart failure and respiratory failure. It can also cause brain and blood disorders.

The most common symptoms of this disorder include:

  • Frequent arousals during sleep
  • Insomnia
  • Morning headaches
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Reduced exercise capacity

What causes this disorder?

Sleep-related hypoventilation can stem from the use of certain medications. A person who uses medications like benzodiazepine and opiates is at risk of contracting this sleep disorder. Frequent alcohol consumption can also lead to this disorder. Some medical conditions put a person at higher risk of this disorder. A person who has lung disorders, spinal injuries, or brain/muscle disorders may also be at higher risk. A baby born with a particular gene abnormality is also more likely to develop this disorder.

How is it treated?

The treatment of this disorder depends on what may be causing the disorder. If a medication is causing the problem, the treatment will involve the immediate cessation from the use of the medication.

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Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) therapy is usually used to treat this disorder. Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure or BPAP is usually the form used in treating sleep-related hypoventilation. This treatment involves the patient wearing a mask over the nose and mouth. Positive pressure is then applied with the help of a bedside device called a ventilator. The ventilator blows pressured air into the lungs. This treatment helps the respiratory muscles. It can also help improve lung inflation and improve oxygen levels. This treatment can also remove CO2 while the patient sleeps.

The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Read our full medical disclaimer.

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