The Relationship between Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Asthma


Is there a statistical relationship of consequence between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and asthma patients? How does OSA impact patients with difficult-to-treat asthma (DTA)?


Airway obstruction is a common pathophysiology signature of both obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and asthma. OSA is known to occur more commonly in asthma patients than in the general population. It has also been shown that asthma symptoms can be improved after initiating continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). An awareness of this determinant of asthma control could thus help achieve critical disease management.


Guven SF, Dursun AB, Ciftci B, Erkekol FO, Kurt OK conducted a study among 47 DTA patients to evaluate the presence of OSA and their sleep quality. The Sleep Questionnaire, the Epworth Sleepiness Scale and overnight polysomnography were the three components of this study. The demographic and asthma severity assessments included (a) age at diagnosis, (b) duration of illness (c) smoking and atopy status, (d) results of pulmonary function tests, (e) number of asthma control medications used, and (f) number of hospitalizations and emergency room visits due to asthma and analgesic hypersensitivity according to apnea–hypopnea index (AHI) scores.


The study showed a remarkably high prevalence of OSA in DTA. No statistically significant relationship between the presence of OSA and clinical asthma characteristics was identified, but there were enough deductions to recommend that all DTA patients be assessed for OSA.



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