Breathing – it’s something we do every single day, without even thinking about it. Disordered breathing is a common issue that affects many people, yet few of us truly understand what it is or how to address it. If you’re curious about this topic and want to learn more, then you’ve come to the right place! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about disordered breathing – from its causes and symptoms, to diagnosis and treatment options.
What is Disordered Breathing?
Disordered breathing is a condition characterized by irregular or shallow breathing. It can be caused by a number of factors, including anxiety, smoking, and sleep apnea. Disordered breathing can lead to a number of health problems, including fatigue, headaches, and high blood pressure.
Types of Disordered Breathing
There are four types of disordered breathing: apnea, hypopnea, hyperventilation, and hypoventilation.
Apnea is defined as a reduction in airflow for 10 seconds or more. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including anatomic obstruction, central nervous system dysfunction, or neuromuscular weakness.
Hypopnea is defined as a reduction in airflow for less than 10 seconds. It is often caused by sleep apnea or other respiratory disorders.
Hyperventilation is defined as an increase in breathing rate and depth that leads to a decrease in carbon dioxide levels in the blood. It can be caused by anxiety, exercise, or some medications.
Common Causes of Disordered Breathing
There are many possible causes of disordered breathing, and the exact cause may vary from person to person. However, there are some common causes that are worth mentioning. First, disordered breathing can be caused by a structural problem in the airway, such as a blockage or obstruction. This can be due to a variety of things, such as an enlarged tongue, excess tissue in the throat, or a deviated septum.
Symptoms to Look Out For
If you think you may be experiencing disordered breathing, it is important to consult with a medical professional to rule out any other potential causes of your symptoms. However, there are some key symptoms that can help you determine if disordered breathing may be the root cause of your distress.
Chest pain: Another symptom associated with disordered breathing is chest pain. This pain can range from a dull ache to sharp, stabbing sensations and can be exacerbated by deep breaths or coughing.
Heart palpitations: Disordered breathing can also cause heart palpitations, which are characterized by an irregular heartbeat or skipped beats. This symptom is often accompanied by chest pain and shortness of breath.
Diagnosing and Treating Disordered Breathing
There are a number of ways to diagnose and treat disordered breathing. The most common way to diagnose disordered breathing is through a sleep study. A sleep study is performed in a sleep lab and involves overnight monitoring of your sleep. If you have disordered breathing, you may be diagnosed with one of three conditions:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea: This is the most common type of disordered breathing. It occurs when your airway becomes blocked during sleep, causing you to snore loudly and wake up frequently throughout the night.
- Central Sleep Apnea: This type of disordered breathing occurs when your brain fails to send signals to your muscles to breathe properly.
- Mixed Sleep Apnea: This is the least common type of disordered breathing and it is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Benefits of Seeking Treatment for Disordered Breathing
There are many benefits to seeking treatment for disordered breathing. Perhaps the most obvious is that it can improve your quality of life. If you suffer from chronic pain or fatigue, seek medical help for your breathing disorder. It can also help you breathe more easily and improve your sleep quality.
In addition, treating your disordered breathing can also have positive effects on your mental health. If you suffer from anxiety or depression, getting treatment for your breathing disorder can help alleviate symptoms. Treating your disordered breathing can also improve your overall physical health. If you have a heart condition, asthma, or another chronic condition, seeking treatment for your breathing disorder can help improve your symptoms and overall health.