Asthma and sleep apnoea

Risk of death due to oxygen insufficiency

Asthma (Greek: “shortness of breath”) is a chronic and inflammatory illness of the airways with permanent hypersensitivity of the bronchi. The mucous membrane in the airways reacts pathologically to different stimuli. The consequences are chest tightness, coughing, shortness of breath and recurring choking fits, which can even lead to death.

People with asthma very often suffer from respiratory arrests in the night when snoring. These symptoms indicate so-called obstructive sleep apnoea. (obstructive, Latin: “blocked” - Apnoea, Greek: “respiratory arrest”). These respiratory arrests sometimes last longer than a minute before the sufferer gasps for air with an explosive snoring noise and his breathing begins normally again.

Sleep apnoea has serious consequences: It often leads to illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or kidney insufficiency. Other dangerous consequences are cardiovascular illnesses, such as strokes and heart attacks.

Does asthma trigger dangerous sleep apnoea - or is it the other way round?

A research group and team leader Mihaela Teodorescu from the Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health tackled this question. Data from 547 participants was evaluated in a major study. It was established that the asthmatics taking part in the test developed obstructive sleep apnoea far more frequently than healthy test subjects. The evaluations from the study showed that in particular asthmatics, who were older than 36 years, snored more strongly and tended to have respiratory pauses at night more frequently. The course of the illness was also particularly difficult in their cases. 

Asthmatics often require cortisone treatment to alleviate their symptoms. The researchers assume that the structures and functions of the upper airways are negatively changed by this. The result of the study was: Asthma patients who have to administer cortisone generally store fat in the throat area. In this way there is a tangible narrowing in this sensitive area, which makes breathing particularly difficult and also worsens the sleep apnoea syndrome demonstrably.

Causes of asthma and sleep apnoea

It is easy to understand that narrowed airways lead to persistent breathlessness and make life for asthmatics more difficult. A narrowing or even blockage of the airways is, contrary to expectations, also the cause of obstructive sleep apnoea. In the case of sleep apnoea sufferers, the tongue lies too far back in the oral cavity due to the lower jaw being too small and not having grown forward enough. The tongue then blocks the airways due to lack of space. During sleep, the tongue falls back and blocks the airways like a cork. This makes it clear that in a great number of cases the negative effects of asthma and sleep apnoea mutually reinforce each other, or even potentiate. The consequences of this permanent oxygen insufficiency can be life-threatening.

Removing the cause

The solution to the problem is the only sensible, operative treatment of these symptoms. In Professor Sailer’s clinic, both jaws are moved forward in a pain-free procedure, this widely enlarges the airways. Consequently, the lung is supplied optimally with oxygen and breathing problems then become a thing of the past.

The airways are widely expanded using the globally unique and pain-free surgical method  “Rotation Advancement” developed by Prof. Sailer. Breathing improves significantly and the asthma condition considerably improves or disappears completely. The life-threatening obstructive sleep apnoea is cured forever with this method. 

Do you have any questions or would you like a personal consultation? We are happy to help.