What is Central Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Central Sleep Apnea are two different conditions, however, both can cause serious problems for the sufferer. This week Dr. Ringer talks about CSA.

Although CSA is less common than Obstructive Sleep Apnea, it still disrupts your sleep as you stop and start breathing while you are asleep.

According to Wikipedia, Central Sleep Apnea occurs because the brain isn’t sending the proper signals to your muscles that control breathing. Central Sleep Apnea is different from Obstructive Sleep Apnea where you cannot breathe normally thanks to the obstruction of your upper airways.

Treatments for CSA may involve treatment of your existing conditions, oral appliance therapy from your dentist or oxygen.

Common symptoms or signs that you may be suffering from Central Sleep Apnea include:

  • Episodes of abnormal breathing patterns
  • Observed sleep disruption
  • Waking abruptly followed by a shortness of breath
  • Relief from shortness of breath when you sit up
  • Insomnia
  • Shortness of breath
  • Excessive sleep during waking hours
  • Excessive sleepiness while awake
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Morning headaches
  • Moody behavior
  • Snoring

Although with snoring there may be a degree of obstruction to the airflow, it can also be a sign of Central Sleep Apnea, however, snoring is not as prominent as it is with Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Schedule an appointment with your physician if you or anyone else in your household observes any of the following symptoms or signs of Central Sleep Apnea:

  • Waking abruptly because of shortness of breath
  • Pauses in breathing while asleep
  • Problems staying awake
  • Drowsiness during the waking hours
  • Trouble staying awake while working, watching TV or driving

Central Sleep Apnea Causes

CSA occurs because your brain is unable to transmit signals to the muscles that control your breathing. However, Central Sleep Apnea may also be caused by other conditions that affect your brainstems ability linking your spinal cord to your brain.

Types of CSA include:

Cheyne-Stokes Breathing-Most common in people who have had a stroke or heart failure.

Drug-induced Apnea-Caused by certain types of medications including morphine, oxycodone HCL, codeine sulfate, oxycotin and other opioids.

High Altitude Periodic Breathing-High altitudes can cause Central Sleep Apnea thanks to the oxygen levels at higher altitudes. The change could be the reason for under breathing or rapid breathing.

Complex Sleep Apnea-Some who suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea may also develop CSA if they have been using a CPAP machine to sleep. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Ringer who can help you with Oral Appliance Therapy to help you sleep better and is less intrusive than a CPAP machine.

If you have been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea or Central Sleep Apnea, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ringer who can help you sleep better at night with the help of Oral Appliance Therapy.

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