Hypopnea in a nutshell: part 1

Hypopnea comes from the Greek roots hypo- (meaning low, under, beneath, down, below normal) and pnoe (meaning breathing). Literally it means underbreathing. In case of hypopnea breathing is shallower or slower than normal. It is a sleep disorder that can be characterized by person’s repetitive stops of breathing or low breathing for short periods of time during sleep. Hypopnea is distinct from apnea in which there is a total cessation of breathing.

Hypopnea may disturb a person’s quantity and quality of sleep as it often causes a severe sleep breakup. It all results in sleep deprivation and excessive daytime sleepiness, most usual consequences of which are traffic accidents, diminished productivity, emotional problems, etc. Cardiovascular consequences of hypopnea include myocardial infarction, stroke, psychiatric problems, impotence, cognitive disfunction, hypertension, coronary heart disease, and memory loss.

Among the most commong hypopnea symptoms are:

  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Snoring
  • Depression
  • Forgetfulness
  • Mood or behavior changes
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Loss of energy
  • Nervousness
  • Morning headache

Not everyone who suffers from hypopnea has all these symptoms and not everyone who has these symptoms suffer from hypopnea.