Dr. Weyrich's Naturopathic Functional Medicine Notebook is a collection of information on topics of interest to Dr. Weyrich that may be of interest to the world wide audience. Due to limitations of time, not all information that Dr. Weyrich knows or would like to further research is published here. Dr. Weyrich welcomes financial contributions to support specific research topics, as well as copies of non-free access journal articles for him to review on a topic. Constructive criticism is also welcome.


Overview of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person stops breathing while sleeping, and then tends to awake with a start when breathing is restarted by a gasp. This cycle of events can repeat hundreds of times per night.

Sleep apnea can be divided into two types:

  • Obstructive.
  • Neurogenic.

In some cases, disorders such as chronic fatigue and hypertension have been attributed to sleep apnea.


Etiology of Sleep Apnea

Low thyroid function, called hypothyroidism, has been associated with obstructive sleep apnea [Starr2005, pg 7]. Presumably this is due to obstruction caused by myxedema.

Neurogenic sleep apnea has also been associated with hypothyroidism [DeGroot1996], [Starr2005, pg 126].


Differential Diagnosis of Sleep Apnea


Treatment of Sleep Apnea

Treatments for obstructive sleep apnea include:
  • Treat hypothyroidism if present.
  • Weight loss is often effective.
  • Dental appliances that reposition the mouth and tongue are often effective.
  • Continuous Positive Pressure breathing machines are effective but expensive, and annoy many patients.

References for Sleep Apnea