Can Asthma Cause Sleep Apnea?

Asthma and sleep apnea are two distinct respiratory conditions, but they can be related in some cases. While asthma itself does not directly cause sleep apnea, there are factors that can link the two conditions or make them co-occur in some individuals:

  • Overlapping Risk Factors: Both asthma and sleep apnea have some shared risk factors, such as obesity. Obesity can increase the risk of developing both asthma and sleep apnea. In individuals with asthma who are also overweight, the likelihood of developing sleep apnea may be higher.
  • Airway Obstruction: Asthma is characterized by airway inflammation and bronchoconstriction (narrowing of the airways), which can lead to breathing difficulties. In some cases, the narrowing of the airways in asthma can contribute to or exacerbate sleep apnea. When the airways become constricted during an asthma attack, it can make it more challenging for individuals to breathe, especially during sleep.
  • Medication Side Effects: Some medications used to manage asthma, such as corticosteroids, may contribute to weight gain, which can increase the risk of sleep apnea.
  • Asthma-Related Sleep Disturbances: Asthma symptoms, such as nighttime coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath, can disrupt sleep. Poor sleep quality or sleep disturbances can contribute to the development or exacerbation of sleep apnea.

It’s important to note that not everyone with asthma will develop sleep apnea, and the relationship between the two conditions can be complex. If you have asthma and are experiencing symptoms such as loud snoring, choking, gasping for air, or excessive daytime sleepiness, it’s essential to discuss these concerns with your healthcare provider. They can assess your symptoms, conduct appropriate tests, and determine whether further evaluation for sleep apnea is necessary. If sleep apnea is diagnosed, appropriate treatment options can be considered to manage the condition and improve sleep quality.