I had recently written articles on the combination of COPD and Asthma, which was referred to as the Overlap Syndrome. This means the two conditions are present in the same patient, and this will affect the treatment, and possibly the outcome for these patients, making it important to diagnosis this combination in our patients.
The concern about an Overlap Syndrome is not limited to COPD and Asthma, but also extends to COPD and Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The condition is being called the COPD-OSA Overlap Syndrome. We know that both COPD and Obstructive Sleep Apnea carry specific risk, but the two together more than double possible problems. There has been a 300 % increase in this combination of diseases noted from 2004 and 2013.
COPD is the third leading cause of death in the world, killing over 2.5 million people a year, while obstructive sleep apnea affects over 936 million worldwide. A number of studies have shown that the combination of COPD and OSA occurs in younger, mostly male, patients and ones with other so-called co-morbidities.
When diagnosing a new patient with COPD it seems appropriate that physicians also ask about sleep issues, keeping in mind that some patients may be unaware of their symptoms. The testing procedures for diagnosing sleep apnea have changed, making it more convenient for the patient to be screened for sleep apnea.
If you already carry the diagnosis of COPD and have concerns about sleep problems, talk to your family doctor or lung specialist.