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    Apnea, Sleep

    Important
    It is possible that the main title of the report Apnea, Sleep is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

    Synonyms

    Disorder Subdivisions

    General Discussion

    Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by temporary, recurrent interruptions of breathing (respiration) during sleep. Symptoms of this disorder include periodic wakefulness during the night, excessive sleepiness during the day, and loud snoring during sleep. People with this disorder are frequently overweight. Diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea can avoid serious medical problems that may arise as a consequence of oxygen deprivation in untreated individuals. Sleep apnea occurs in three different forms: obstructive, central, and mixed.

    An individual's rate of respiration is regulated by group of nerve cells in the brain that control the rhythm of breathing in response to changing oxygen levels in the blood (respiratory drive). In some apneas, the respiratory drive is abnormal. Obstructive sleep apnea (upper airway apnea) the most common form of sleep apnea, results from the blockage of the respiratory passages during sleep. Affected individuals may struggle to breathe and experience increased respiratory effort. Respiratory drive is unaffected in people with this form of sleep apnea but the blockage prevents them from breathing normally. Obstructive apnea is more likely than central apnea to be associated with snorting and arousal from sleep.

    In the rare central sleep apnea, the brain does not send adequate signals to the diaphragm and lungs during sleep, resulting in low respiratory drive. In this form of sleep apnea, breathing stops and does not resume until the oxygen-deprived brain finally sends impulses to the diaphragm and lungs. In infants, central sleep apnea is defined as lasting 20 seconds or more.

    Mixed sleep apnea is a combination of improper brain signals and obstruction of the respiratory passages. In some cases, sleep apnea is referred to as "Pickwickian Syndrome." In these cases, obstructive apnea is combined with obesity and an abnormally short neck. Infantile sleep apnea affects children less than one year old, and its cause is unknown. (For more information on infantile sleep apnea, see the Related Disorders section of this report.)

    Resources

    National Sleep Foundation
    1010 N. Glebe Road
    Suite 310
    Arlington, VA 22201
    Tel: (703)243-1697
    Email: nsf@sleepfoundation.org
    Internet: http://www.sleepfoundation.org

    Narcolepsy Network, Inc.
    129 Waterwheel Lane
    North Kingstown, RI 02852
    USA
    Tel: (401)667-2523
    Fax: (401)633-6567
    Tel: (888)292-6522
    Email: narnet@narcolepsynetwork.org
    Internet: http://www.narcolepsynetwork.org

    American Sleep Association
    1610 14th Street NW
    Suite 300
    Rochester, MN 55901
    Tel: (507)287-6006
    Fax: (507)287-6008
    Email: asda@millcomm.com
    Internet: http://www.sleepassociation.org/

    Tri-State Sleep Disorders Center
    1275 E. Kemper Rd.
    Cincinnati, OH 45246
    Tel: (513)671-3101
    Fax: (513)671-4159
    Tel: (800)838-4322
    TDD: (311)111-6111
    Email: ggaz@tristatesleep.com
    Internet: http://www.tristatesleep.com

    American Sleep Apnea Association
    6856 Eastern Ave NW
    Suite 203
    Washington, DC 20012
    USA
    Tel: (202)293-3650
    Fax: (202)293-3656
    Email: asaa@sleepapnea.org
    Internet: http://www.sleepapnea.org

    NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
    P.O. Box 5801
    Bethesda, MD 20824
    Tel: (301)496-5751
    Fax: (301)402-2186
    Tel: (800)352-9424
    TDD: (301)468-5981
    Internet: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/

    Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
    PO Box 8126
    Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
    Tel: (301)251-4925
    Fax: (301)251-4911
    Tel: (888)205-2311
    TDD: (888)205-3223
    Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/

    For a Complete Report:

    This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

    The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

    It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

    This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

    For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site www.rarediseases.org or email orphan@rarediseases.org

    Last Updated: 2/20/2007
    Copyright 1986, 1987, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2007 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

    WebMD Medical Reference from the National Organization for Rare Disorders

    Last Updated: May 28, 2015
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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