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Health Tip: A 'Curse' That Curtails Your Breathing

Ondine's curse leads to inadequate breathing and lethargy

(HealthDay News) -- Primary alveolar hypoventilation, otherwise known as Ondine's curse, is a rare disorder that leads to inadequate breathing despite normal physiologic makeup.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the cause of the disease is unknown, but the condition usually worsens during sleep. Periods of apnea, or cessation of breathing, may occur as well. Patients with this disease are also more sensitive to small doses of sedatives.

Symptoms of Ondine's curse may include lethargy, headache, swelling of the ankles, and awaking in the morning feeling unrested. Treatments may include medications that stimulate the respiratory system, as well as augmentation of breathing with mechanical devices.

Consumer News