Written by Anthony Hardie
(91outcomes.com) - A new study says that veterans of the 1991 Gulf War with Gulf War Illness have measurable differences in their sleep that may distinguish them from their healthy counterparts.
The study showed that veterans with GWI had an increased frequency of “arousals” from sleep, and that these arousals were related to three different causes: apneas, hypopneas, and mild inspiratory airflow limitation.
Any of these conditions can lead to excessive daytime fatigue, and problems with memory, cognition, attention and learning – symptoms comm0nly reported by Gulf War veterans suffering from chronic multi-symptom illness.
Apnea is a term for a reduction or pause in breathing and airflow and usually occur during sleep. While every0ne has apneas from time to time, excessive apneas can be a serious medical condition that deprives the brain and body of needed oxygen. Apneas are generally of two forms, which can occur separately or together: “central sleep apnea” is caused by the part of the brain that controls breathing; “obstructive” sleep apnea is caused by part of the throat or the tongue closing off the airway when the body relaxes during sleep.
Obstructive sleep apnea can be treated with the use of a CPAP machine used while sleeping. There are currently no known treatments for central sleep apnea.
Apneas are called “mixed” if they include both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Hypopnea is a medical term for a disorder which involves episodes of overly shallow breathing or an abnormally low respiratory rate, also known as “underbreathing.” Hypopneas are less severe than apneas. Both involve decreased levels of blood oxygen.
Mild inspiratory airflow limitation is a term used to describe airflow disturbances that are of a lesser nature than apneas and hypopneas.
The study, entitled, Inspiratory airflow dynamics during sleep in veterans with Gulf War illness: a controlled study, was published in the August edition of “Sleep Breath," a specialized, peer-reviewed scientific journal.
Led by Dr. MM Amin and colleagues, the study was conducted in the Sleep Medicine division of the Northport VA Medical Center in New York state.
Further information on the study is available online from PubMed: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20703820