Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB)

  • Is a general term for a sleep disorder with apneas1 and hypopneas2. These cause sleep arousals3 that may reduce the quality of sleep and blood oxygen levels
  • The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

  • Occurs when the upper airway closes but efforts to breathe continue.
    • Upper airway obstruction is usually caused by:
      • Lack of muscle tone during sleep
      • Excess tissue in the upper airway
      • anatomical abnormalities in the upper airway and jaw
  • Affects around 20% adults4, making it as widespread as type 2 diabetes or asthma
  • Is predominant among:
    • Middle aged men
    • Obese people
    • Smokers
    • High alcohol consumers
    • Users of muscle relaxing or pain killing drugs
  • Is present in patients with the following conditions:
    • 80%  drug resistant hypertension
    • 60%  stroke
    • 50%  congestive heart failure (CHF)
    • > 50% type 2 diabetes

Find out more about the link between sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes

Awareness of sleep apnea is low. We believe around 90% of people with OSA remain undiagnosed and untreated.

Read more about Sleep apnea


1. Apnea – cessation of airflow for ten seconds or longer
2. Hypopnea – 50% or greater decrease in air flow for ten seconds or longer
3. Sleep arousals – moments when an individual wakes enough to resume breathing but not enough to remember any interruption of sleep
4. Young et al. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2002; 165:1217-1239