Hypopnea is a breathing disorder which can be characterized as shallow breathing at a very slow rate of respiration. Among other breathing disorders are: orthopnea, a condition in which a person experiences shortness of breathing time while lying down; dyspnea, a feeling of respiratory failure and breathlessness; trepopnea or difficulty to respire while lying down on one side; apnea or inability to breath.
Hypopnea is not simply absence or shortness of breathing, but rather abnormal respiration when one is unable to get enough oxygen into his lungs. There’s a periodic break in the upper airway and decreases in blood oxygen levels in course of sleep. A sleeping person gets incapable to respire normally and wakes up with each break. Hypopnea is generally caused by overweight, aging, alcohol abuse and smoking, wrong anatomy of the nasal or respiratory ways and other disorders of the respiratory system.
The most common symptoms of hypopnea are snoring and superfluous drowsiness. A person with hypopnea often snores when sleeping and feels exhausted even after having slept decently. People who suffer from this breathing disorder often feel depressed and experience loss of energy. Other hypopnea symptoms include: headaches in the morning, irritability and mood swings, loss of memory and poor concentration. These symptom may not occur all at once.
Hypopnea can lead to really adverse consequences if there is no timely treatment. Lack and poor quality of sleep causes sleep deprivation, which in its turn may lead to diminished productivity, psychiatric problems, cognitive dysfunction, loss of memory and emotional inadequacy. Hypopnea is harmful to the cardiovascular system, resulting in myocardial infarct, heart attack, impotency, high blood pressure and coronary heart disease.
Therefore, hypopnea treatment must commence as soon as it is diagnosed. It usually include: CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure; regular physical exercises and weight loss; avoiding sleeping on the back; alcohol and smoking abstinence; strengthening of gullet muscles with the help of certain exercises.