What is a Hypopnea?

Hypopnea is related to sleep apnea and is in the same family of sleep disorders. In hypopnea, there is a decrease of airflow for a minimum of 10 seconds in respirations, a 30-percent reduction in ventilation, as well as a decrease in oxygen saturation.

There are three different types of hypopnea:

Central hypopnea: Where both airflow and breathing effort are reduced.
Obstructive hypopnea: With obstructive hypopnea, only the flow of air is reduced, but not the breathing effort.
Mixed hypopnea: Mixed hypopnea is a mix of both central and obstructive hypopnea episodes.

You may be wondering what the difference is between sleep apnea and hypopnea is and the answer is they are actually quite similar. In fact, hypopnea is a type of sleep apnea. Hypopnea means abnormally slow or shallow breathing, while apnea means periods of no breathing.

The main difference is that in sleep apnea, the airway is completely blocked while in hypopnea, the airway is partially blocked.

What are some of the symptoms of sleep apnea?

Snoring
Choking sounds
Daytime sleepiness
Fatigue
Insomnia
Headaches
Depression
Anxiety
Nocturia (waking up in the night to use the bathroom)
Difficulty focusing
Memory loss
Decreased sexual desire
Irritability

Sleep apnea and hypopnea are very serious medical conditions. Every time an episode of apnea or hypopnea happens, your brain as well as body tissues are deprived of oxygen. Sleep apnea or hypopnea can cause serious health issues over time if not properly managed.

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