What causes sleep-disordered breathing (SDB)?

Updated: Feb 13, 2020
  • Author: Vittorio Rinaldi, MD; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
  • Print

Important clinical risk factors for SDB are as follows:

  • Nasal obstruction
  • Craniofacial abnormalities
  • Mandibular retrognathia
  • Micrognathia
  • Narrowed, tapered, and short maxillary arch
  • Overbite
  • Long soft palate
  • Modified Mallampati grade III or IV
  • Macroglossia
  • Tonsillar hypertrophy
  • Neck circumference more than 17 in. for men and more than 16 in. for women
  • Obesity

Other problems that can contribute to or exacerbate SDB are sedative or alcohol use and poor sleep hygiene.

A very small percentage of patients with SDB have CSA rather than OSA. CSA can be caused by various neurologic disorders or can be idiopathic.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!