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Opioids and Sleep Apnea

Opioids and Sleep Apnea

Opioids and Sleep Apnea

Opioids and sleep apnea (breathing problems) are closely related. The use of opioids can cause the development of many sleep disorders and breathing problems such as central apnea, abnormal breathing patterns and nocturnal oxygen desaturations. Opioids are very effective for chronic pain management and are prescribed to injured patients, post-surgery patients and cancer patients, among others. Opiate and opioid drugs are widely accepted for long-term treatment in many patients worldwide. Many Louisville patients today are receiving round the clock opioid therapy for pain relief.

Opioids and Sleep

Many narcotics, including opioids, have serious effects on our respiratory physiology. Opioids decrease tidal volume, respiratory rate and lead to other central respiratory changes. They may also lead to obstruction and ineffective ventilation in our airways, leading to a number of breathing issues. These substances can cause our breathing patterns to become irregular. Gasping and irregular pauses in breathing can lead to erratic respiratory effort, respiratory rate and labored breathing. Analgesics, sedatives and anesthetics can selectively reduce the activity of the airways and can cause the upper airways to collapse.

Studies Indicate Opioids and Sleep Apnea and Related

Many studies have shown a close relationship between opioids and sleep apnea. According to an article published in Pain Medicine News, a study conducted in a sleep lab shows that these medications may in fact be responsible for causing sleep apnea. Researchers studied 140 chronic pain patients receiving opioid therapy to assess the prevalence of sleep apnea. The patients were all on therapy for more than 6 months. The results of the study show that 75% of these patients were suffering from sleep apnea of some form by the end. The results were higher than what they initially expected to see in patients receiving opioid treatment.

Obstructive apnea is caused by health problems and by obesity and symptoms usually includes loud snoring. On the other hand, central sleep apnea is when an individual stops breathing in their sleep due to a faulty brain wave. In people who take opioids regularly, the mechanisms of central sleep apnea are quite different because the breath size decreases among opioid users. This shows that opioids have a direct effect on the brain mechanisms that control our respiration.

Opioid Abuse Help

One of the most dangerous side effects of opioids is disturbed sleep pattern. In cases of addiction, Louisville citizens should seek immediate addiction recovery help. Medical professionals will not only provide opioid abuse help but will also help find an alternative pain relief solution. If discovered at the right time, sleep apnea can be effectively treated and normal breathing patterns may return.

Sleep apnea is a serious problem because it can lead to death in certain cases. If someone you love in Louisville is using opioids and showing symptoms of sleep apnea, call our 24 hour toll free number as soon as possible for opioid abuse help.

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