What is included in the initial treatment of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB)?

Updated: Feb 13, 2020
  • Author: Vittorio Rinaldi, MD; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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The first task in treating patients with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is to eliminate all possible contributing factors. This includes weight loss for patients who are obese and elimination of alcohol or sedative use, especially near bedtime. Benzodiazepines, narcotics, and barbiturates can worsen SDB, or sometimes they initiate it where it had not previously been present.

A 10% weight loss was associated with a 26% decrease in the respiratory disturbance index (RDI; also referred to as the apnea-hypopnea index [AHI]) in a population-based study. Weight loss should be recommended for all obese patients with sleep apnea; however, weight loss takes time, and only a minority of patients successfully maintain it. [60, 61]

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