Conditions and diseases

Respiratory sleeping problems

Symptoms and causes

Symptoms and causes

What is it?

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Nasal syndrome (OSAS) is the most common condition (2-4%) in the population. With this syndrome, the airway closes during sleep because of the slackening of the pharyngeal muscles. OSAS is almost always accompanied by snoring, which often results in the partner noticing pauses in breathing.


The symptoms at night are:

  • waking up to a feeling of suffocation
  • problems sleeping through the night
  • night sweats
  • frequently getting up to urinate
  • headache upon waking

The symptoms during the day are:

  • sleepiness
  • concentration and memory issues
  • behavioural changes
  • sexual problems

Risk factors

The most common risk factors with respiratory sleeping problems are:

  • cardiovascular diseases
  • diabetes
  • obesity

Diagnosis and treatment

Diagnosis and treatment


Patients in whom sleep apnoea is suspected based on their reported symptoms usually first see a pneumologist.

In most cases, an in-lab sleep study will be recommended.


Obstructive sleep anea syndrome (OSAS) can be treated in various ways.

Obstructive sleep apnoea is due to a narrow airway. This can be caused by an unfavourable jaw anatomy, pronounced tonsil hypertrophy or being overweight. In 70% of patients, several factors play a role in OSAS.

For moderate-to-severe OSAS, a CPAP (continuous postiive airpressure machine) is the gold standard. In case of lighter forms, you will be referred for additional testing.

Depending on where the problem is located, different treatments will be proposed:

Interesting link:

Treatment centres and specialisations

Treatment centres and specialisations

Latest publication date: 21/12/2023
Supervising author: Dr Vermeiren Judith, Dr Lamont Jan