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Sleep Related Breathing Disorders

Sleep disorders that involve difficulty breathing during sleep are classified as sleep related breathing disorders. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common disorder of this type, however there are a number of variations of sleep apnea.

Untreated obstructive sleep apnea causes you to stop breathing during sleep because of obstructions in the airway. People with this common and serious sleep disorder frequently snore loudly or make choking noises as they try to breathe.  This loud noise occurs as you sleep when the flow of air from breathing makes the tissues in the back of your throat vibrate. Snoring can be a nuisance for your partner or anyone nearby. Central sleep apnea causes your body to decrease or stop breathing during sleep in an off-and-on cycle. Central sleep apnea is caused by a problem in the brain or heart, rather than a blockage of the airway. About two percent of young children have obstructive sleep apnea that requires treatment, which is most common in preschoolers when the tonsils and adenoids are large compared to the throat.  Sleep apnea in infants may be due to a developmental problem that results from immature brainstem or it may be caused by another medical condition. Breathing problems from sleep apnea may cause severe complications for infants.
Sleep related groaning, also called catathrenia, occurs when you make a prolonged sound that resembles groaning while you exhale during sleep. It is fairly rare and more common in men. Sleep related groaning is most bothersome to your bed partner.