What are common sleep disorders associated with kidney disease?

Sleep disorders, are common in people with chronic kidney disease and end stage renal disease. In addition to insomnia, sleep-disordered breathing, excessive sleepiness, and restless leg syndrome many have a high incidence of sleep apnea and periodic limb movements in sleep. These often occur together and may predict mortality in end stage renal disease.

  • Sleep apnea is a chronic medical disorder in which you stop breathing during sleep. There are two types of sleep apnea.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the throat muscles relax, intermittently closing off the upper airway during sleep.
  • Central sleep apnea occurs when your brain doesn’t send the proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing.

The signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas overlap, sometimes making the type of sleep apnea more difficult to determine.

The most common signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Loud snoring, which is usually more prominent in obstructive sleep apnea
  • Episodes of breathing cessation during sleep witnessed by another person
  • Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath, which more likely indicates central sleep apnea
  • Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Morning headache
  • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
  • Attention problems

Untreated sleep apnea can make the symptoms of chronic kidney disease worse: daytime fatigue, sleepiness, impaired neurocognitive function—all of which can affect overall quality of life. Sleep apnea is considered a serious medical condition.

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