The Connection: COPD & OSA

Posted by ANCSLEEP BLOG on Nov 4, 2016 12:00:00 PM


Have you ever heard of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October)? What about participation in the Ice Bucket Challenge or No-Shave November?

Chances are you’re familiar with at least one of these well-known health awareness observances. But did you know the calendar is full of special months, weeks, and days that raise awareness for a variety of important health issues and conditions? They’re dates where people with certain health conditions, their loved ones, advocacy organizations, and support groups rally around a common cause: health.

November is full of awareness for many serious medical condtions.  Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is among one of them.

What is COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a disease that causes airflow blockage in the bronchi (air tubes) in the lungs; it is a chronic disease that worsens over time. COPD is now a major global epidemic that occurs in more than 10% of adults older than 40 years of age.  Due to the lack of awareness and somewhat generic symptoms, COPD is under recognized and under diagnosed.


What is the Connection?

The connection between pulmonology and sleep medicine is not always obvious to patients.  Pulmonology is the medical specialty that deals with respiratory health. If you are having issues breathing, your doctor may refer you to see a pulmonologist. 


Sleep medicine is devoted to sleep health. What is that, exactly? The field of sleep medicine has exploded in recent years. More and more doctors are recognizing the impact that sleep has on overall health, and many physicians are getting subspecialty certified to treat sleep disorders.


COPD and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are two major chronic conditions that impact the lives of millions of Americans. Separately, COPD and OSA contribute to the morbidity and mortality of hundreds of thousands of Americans every year, but OSA is prevalent in 10-15 percent of COPD patients in what is called overlap syndrome (OS).


 Overlap Syndrome-1.jpg

Overlap syndrome is a term used to describe two common respiratory diseases, OSA  and COPD.


What are the Symptoms?

If you have asthma and/ or COPD, you may be at increased risk for sleep apnea if:

You have more frequent asthma/ COPD symptoms, you are overweight, smoke, experience nasal problems, heartburn, or use higher doses of inhaled corticosteroid

You are sleepy during the day, even after you have slept all night

You snore or make choking noises while you sleep

You have been observed to have breathing pauses during sleep
You wake up in the morning with headaches






On their own, COPD and OSA contribute to tens of thousands of American deaths every year, but the conditions can occur together and the overlap can have increased deleterious effects on the health of patients. 

Take control of your health and get screened today! 



ANCSLEEP BLOG- Good Sleep Starts Here 

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all