Hypopnea is a medical term used to describe a partial blockage or narrowing of the airway during sleep that results in shallow breathing and a decrease in the amount of oxygen in the blood. This condition is often associated with sleep apnea and is characterized by episodes of abnormally slow or shallow breathing, which can cause a person to wake up frequently during the night.
Hypopnea is defined as a reduction in airflow of at least 30% that lasts for at least 10 seconds and is usually accompanied by a decrease in oxygen levels in the blood. The symptoms of hypopnea can include loud snoring, gasping or choking during sleep, daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and irritability.
Hypopnea can be diagnosed through a sleep study, which measures breathing, oxygen levels, and other vital signs during sleep. Treatment options for hypopnea typically involve continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, which uses a machine to deliver a steady stream of air pressure to keep the airway open during sleep. Other treatments may include lifestyle changes, such as weight loss, avoiding alcohol and sedatives before bedtime, and sleeping on one’s side instead of on the back.