Obstructive Sleep Apnea-Hypopnea Syndrome

The following discussion is for general informational purposes only and is not meant to provide the reader with specific medical advice. Please consult with your personal physician, or with a neurologist, for specific advice, guidance and information regarding your particular circumstances.

Description: 

Sleep related breathing disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea (OSAHS) syndrome are common, affecting up to 5 percent of the adult population.  It is caused by partial to complete collapse of the airway while sleeping.  Snoring is a common complaint associated with sleep related  breathing disorders and is brought up by the bed partner.   A sensation of gasping or choking in sleep, and recurrent dreams of suffocating or drowning may also be associated with sleep related breathing disorders.   Frequently, a bed partner may witness periods of apnea, defined as complete cessation of breathing for 10 seconds or longer while sleeping.   An overnight polysomnogram, or sleep study, is the most commonly used test diagnose the problem.  Sleep apnea is associated with obesity as well as certain craniofacial features including deviated nasal septum, high arched narrow palate, mandibular hypoplasia, and a large neck circumference.

Symptoms: 

Sleep related breathing disorders can cause both nighttime and daytime symptoms.  Common nighttime symptoms include snoring, witnessed breathing abnormalities, frequent awakenings, sensations of choking and gasping, frequent urination after sleep, and dry mouth with the need to keep a glass of water at the bedside.  Common daytime symptoms include excessive sleepiness, clumsiness,  loss of dexterity, irritability, personality changes, memory impairment, decreased libido, impotence, and headaches.  Undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea can increase the risk of hypertension, cardiac disease, stroke, as well as accidents due to excessive daytime sleepiness.

Treatment: 

Sleep related breathing disorders can cause both nighttime and daytime symptoms.  Common nighttime symptoms include snoring, witnessed breathing abnormalities, frequent awakenings, sensations of choking and gasping, frequent urination after sleep, and dry mouth with the need to keep a glass of water at the bedside.  Common daytime symptoms include excessive sleepiness, clumsiness,  loss of dexterity, irritability, personality changes, memory impairment, decreased libido, impotence, and headaches.  Undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea can increase the risk of hypertension, cardiac disease, stroke, as well as accidents due to excessive daytime sleepiness.

Related Tests

Although there is no one test that will diagnose multiple sclerosis, we may run the following tests during your visit:

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Spinal Tap
  • Evoked Potential Test - This test measures activity in the brain.

Related Links

Use these links to find out more information about this condition.

  • National Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • International Organization of Multiple Sclerosis Nurses
  • Local Support Group
  • New Link

A Diverse Practice

Dr. Taryn K. Fortuné received her M.D. degree from the Howard University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. in 2006. She completed her internship in Internal Medicine in 2007 and completed her residency in Adult Neurology in 2010 at the...More
Taryn K. Fortuné, M.D.