Living with asthma can be debilitating. It causes discomfort several times a day, interfering with everyday life. If you have asthma and your family members complain about your snores waking them up, it’s time to take it seriously and see a doctor sooner rather than later. However, snoring in asthma seems to be a matter of minor sleep discomfort for you and your partner. Newly developed consistent snoring at night for patients with asthma is a sign of disease progression. Experts say asthma leads to another breathing disorder called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which causes snoring at night. Both asthma and OSA affect the Black population disproportionately. Asthmatic OSA can have severe consequences, including death. Receiving a dual diagnosis of asthma and OSA can be overwhelming. Still, by taking the necessary steps in the right direction, it is indeed possible to effectively address snoring associated with both conditions.
What is obstructive sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a breathing disorder caused by improper air flow due to partial or complete blockage of the upper windpipe leading to the lungs. Your body fights hard against this air blockage by trying to get more air for proper breathing, leading to snoring. Gasping for air while sleeping can increase heart attacks, high blood pressure, or a stroke. Some other symptoms of OSA include morning headaches, loud snores, excessive daytime sleep, weight loss, personality, and mood swings, etc.
People with asthma have a higher risk of getting obstructive sleep apnea.
Asthma and OSA are both breathing disorders affecting patients’ quality of life. These two are the most widespread respiratory diseases affecting the Black population. A four-year research study published in a top medical journal showed patients suffering from asthma were more likely to develop OSA.
Asthma stems from chronic inflammation within the body’s respiratory system. This inflammation can cause the windpipe to swell, potentially leading to partial or complete blockage, and eventually, it can lead to OSA.
In more severe cases, inflammation in both the lungs and the upper respiratory tract triggers the release of specific biological substances that can affect the part of the brain responsible for controlling breathing. This intricate chain of events in asthma patients plays a significant role in developing the severe issue of OSA.
Treating one improves the other
While there isn’t a single medication designed to treat asthma and OSA, treating one condition can also benefit the other. For instance, asthma is primarily caused by inflammation in the lungs or upper airways.
Medications aimed at reducing lung inflammation can have a positive impact on inflammation throughout the body, subsequently improving symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Similarly, drugs prescribed for OSA that target airway blockages can help alleviate asthma symptoms by reducing lung inflammation.
How to manage asthma and OSA?
Before you start taking any medications, consult with your doctor to treat asthma and OSA. Some of the medication used in asthma has been potentially linked with the worsening of OSA. Therefore, it’s better to tread this path cautiously and in full consultation with your healthcare provider. However, specific lifestyle changes will help you manage both asthma and OSA symptoms, promising you and your loved ones a happier life.
1. Quit smoking
Smoking leads to inflammation in the airways. Quitting smoking can help you reduce inflammation in the windpipe and lungs, leading to much-improved breathing. Improved breathing will decrease the asthmatic flares and reduce