Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders

Sleep-related breathing disorders, also called sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), involve breathing pauses or difficulties during sleep. Left untreated, these disorders can lead to a number of serious conditions including low blood oxygen, high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack.

Symptoms of sleep-related breathing disorders include extreme daytime fatigue, weight gain, gum disease and tooth decay. Although people with sleep-related breathing disorders often feel fatigued, they usually aren’t aware of their nightly snoring, wheezing or breathing interruptions, and don’t know they have a problem until a loved one tells them they snore, or until they’re evaluated by a healthcare provider.

Sleep-related breathing disorders can appear at any age and occur in both men and women. Obesity, sinus problems, and wheezing can increase your risk of developing a sleep-related breathing disorder.


Most sleep-related breathing disorders are diagnosed with polysomnography, or an overnight sleep study, either in a sleep lab or at home. A sleep study can determine whether and how often your breathing changes while you sleep.


Sleep apnea and snoring are the most common sleep-related breathing disorders, but they are not the only disorders in this category.