Sleep apnea, sleep disorders, and hypothyroidism

Am J Med Sci. 1989 Aug;298(2):119-22. doi: 10.1097/00000441-198908000-00008.


The symptoms of hypothyroidism are protean and include apathy, somnolence, lethargy, personality change, and intellectual deterioration. Many of these symptoms may be related to hypothyroid-induced sleep disorders. Hypothyroidism is associated with abnormal ventilatory drive, abnormal sleep architecture, and sleep apnea. Central, obstructive, and mixed patterns of sleep apnea are commonly observed in hypothyroidism. A case of severe sleep apnea in a grossly myxedematous patient who improved dramatically following thyroid replacement alone is presented. Myxedema is a reversible cause of sleep apnea, and thyroid function testing should be considered in its diagnostic work-up.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myxedema / complications*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / etiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology*