Complications of SCD: Sleep-Disordered Breathing

At a glance

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a group of inherited blood disorders associated with severe pain and complications that can affect the entire body. This page provides information on SCD and sleep-disordered breathing.

A man sleeping in bed.


SCD can cause lung problems that can lead to breathing-related and sleep-related disorders, such as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is when breathing repeatedly stops and starts, making it hard to get deep, restorative sleep.


Some symptoms can include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Episodes in which you stop breathing during sleep – reported by another person
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Irritability