possible causes of hypopnea / "incomplete" breathing?
Suffering from excessive day time sleepiness, fatigue, and anxiety / depression with anxious breathing. Also have migraine-like headaches, eustachian tube dysfunction, nasal congestion for going on five years. Have seen docs before but diagnosis is always seasonal allergies and anxiety. A recent sleep study indicated I had mild sleep apnea and hypersomnia - my AHI was all hypopneas, no apneas, occurring in both supine and non-supine positions. An ENT then diagnosed me with septal spurs in both sides of my nose, tho I've never had any remarkable facial trauma.
Is it possible that septal spurs are the root of all these problems? And that the anxious breathing is something I could correct with behavior changes - like hyperventilation syndrome? Or could the "anxious breathing" actually be hypopnea as well, but from a more serious neurological or cardiopulmonary issue? At this point my quality of life is pretty poor; I feel hopeless, with a sense of "impending doom" and everyone except my mother thinks I'm a hypochondriac. Sidenotes: I'm a 27 yo female, high normal BMI, normal thyroid panel, immaculate bloodwork. Previous PFTs, chest X-rays, ekgs for work physicals have been normal save for one borderline EKG due to short PR interval (no follow up).
The AHI hypopnea report should not be interpreted as ruling-out a sleep disorder, one with the potential to cause excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue and headaches. The best advice I can give in this regard is that you meet with the Sleep Doctor to establish the implications of the Sleep Study and to what degree any of the study abnormalities could account for any of your symptoms.
You ask, “Are the septal spurs at the root of all these problems?” Probably not unless they obstruct your nasal passages to a degree that interferes with air flow through your nose. With any breathing problem, the first order of business should be to seek evidence for a physical cause and, only after that possibility has been eliminated to consider sleep disorders or an emotional cause.
And yes, your “anxious breathing” could well be associated with the Hyperventilation Syndrome. Given that the majority of your symptoms are associated with sleep or respiratory disease, you would do well to discuss everything you describe below, with the sleep doctor and it could be especially advantageous if that doctor is also a Pulmonary Disease Dr.
Good luck. I hope that your doctors will be able to sort this out, as I am certain that you will not be able to do it on your own.
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