When a person has both asthma and sleep apnea the combination can intensify these illnesses. Nocturnal asthma can be triggered by decreased lung function, increased airway swelling, and reflux. Sleep apnea is a closing of the airway and it can trigger these same responses. After the apnea event the closed airway is sent a signal to reopen. When the muscles of the airway begin to open friction in the airway causes swelling to the airway tissue. Asthmatics have sensitive airways that become irritated by the fiction and begin the chain reaction creating more inflammation, swelling, mucus production, decreased lung function, and the viscous cycle compounds. The more irritated the airway becomes the more significant the narrowing of the airway. This causes the airway to collapse more easily and the sleep apnea is amplified. These two breathing disorders when combined have a powerful negative effect on when untreated. Identifying and treating these breathing disorders can greatly improve one's sleep, breathing, and reduce the medical consequences to the sufferer.

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