20.07.2021 – 20:35
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when you constantly stop breathing during sleep. These breaks are temporary, but they will wake you up in part. This can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) refers to a group of lung conditions. This classically includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. These conditions make it difficult to breathe when you are awake and asleep.
Both OSA and COPD are common. But when sleep apnea and COPD occur at the same time, it is known as overlap syndrome. It is estimated that 10 to 15 percent of people with COPD also have sleep apnea.
What can cause COPD and sleep apnea to occur together?
According to a 2017 review, OSA and COPD often occur together. This is because each condition is already common on its own.
However, OSA and COPD are related in several ways:
Inflammation. Both conditions involve inflammation. Inflammation caused by obstructive sleep apnea can worsen inflammation in COPD, and vice versa.
Smoking. Cigarette smoking is associated with both OSA and COPD. It causes inflammation, increasing the risk of both conditions.
Mbipesha. Overweight is a strong predictor of having obstructive sleep apnea. Increases the probability of having OSA to more than 50 percent in men and approximately 20 to 30 percent in women.
Does obstructive sleep apnea cause COPD, or vice versa?
Obstructive sleep apnea and COPD often coexist. But there is no direct causal relationship.
OSA is not caused by COPD. Instead, it is caused by factors like enlarged tonsils and neuromuscular disorders.
Meanwhile, COPD is usually caused by chronic exposure to irritants. This includes substances such as cigarette smoke, secondhand smoke, air pollution and chemical gases.
Having OSA does not mean that you will develop COPD. Likewise, having COPD does not mean that you will develop obstructive sleep apnea.
However, since both conditions involve inflammation of the airways, they often occur together. This is more likely if you smoke cigarettes, which is a risk factor for both diseases.
Risks of overlap syndrome
Overlap syndrome increases the chances of developing other health issues.
Short-term risks and side effects
If you also have COPD and obstructive sleep apnea, it can be difficult to breathe during sleep. This can also interfere with the quality of sleep.
You may have short-term side effects such as:
Wake up often at night
Drowsiness during the day
Long-term risks and side effects
COPD and obstructive sleep apnea lower oxygen levels in the body. They also promote chronic inflammation.
Over time, this increases the risk of heart disease, including:
heart failure on the right
high blood pressure
pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs)
How is overlap syndrome treated?
Overlap syndrome is treated by managing each individual condition. The goal is to prevent low levels of oxygen in the blood and the accumulation of carbon dioxide during sleep, and improve sleep quality.
Treatment options include non-invasive airway pressure therapy, oxygen therapy, bronchodilators, and pulmonary rehabilitation. The goal of treatment is to improve respiration and oxygen levels and reduce the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the blood.
Overlap syndrome can increase the risk of heart disease. Regular disease management and long-term treatment is essential to improve overall health.