Posted .

If you have trouble breathing while you sleep, you may have a type of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea comes in several forms:

– Central sleep apnea (CSA)
– Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
– Mixed sleep apnea (a combination of both central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea)

Sleep Apnea Causes

The most common sleep apnea condition is obstructive sleep apnea, which happens when the throat or upper airway collapses while you are sleeping. OSA causes your blood oxygen levels to drop and briefly wake you up. It is usually treated by wearing a facial mask through which a constant flow of air via a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine is administered to keep the airway from collapsing as you sleep.

Central sleep apnea happens when you continually stop breathing during sleep because your brain fails to alert your lung muscles to breathe. Unlike obstructive sleep apnea, it doesn’t happen because there is something in the airway that inhibits breathing.

CSA can also arise in people who had OSA and were treated with CPAP therapy. It can happen when the body responds by holding the breath, called central sleep apnea. It typically occurs from having a serious condition, stroke or injury, which affects your lower brainstem. This is the part of the brain that controls breathing and can happen at any age, even in babies.

CSA Symptoms

CSA doesn’t typically cause snoring, which differentiates it from OSA. You might have central sleep apnea if you have the following symptoms:

– Excessive daytime fatigue
– Continually waking up during the night
– Chronic morning headaches
– Difficulty concentrating during the day
– Having problems remembering
– Experiencing bad moods
– Diminished energy to exercise normally

CSA arises when you can’t control your breathing or when you have trouble staying asleep; for instance, insomniacs. For some, it can mount because of low carbon dioxide levels. Central sleep apnea can also happen after surgery, from wearing an oral appliance for treating sleep apnea, or if the airway pressure is too high or low.

Treating Central Sleep Apnea

– If you have had heart failure, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, or kidney failure, treatment can make central sleep apnea better.

– Gradually lessening the dose of opioid medications being taken.

– CPAP therapy can prevent the airway from closing, which would result in central sleep apnea.

– Adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV) that hasn’t responded to CPAP therapy. It also provides you with air pressure, which adjusts as you breathe in with every breath you take. It can also send you additional air if your breathing takes a few seconds too long.

– Bilevel positive airway pressure (BPAP) gives you pressurized air when you inhale and a different pressure when you exhale as well as extra air if you have paused for too long.

– Supplemental oxygen (adding oxygen while you sleep) can also help.

– Taking medications that promote breathing.

– Implanting a nerve stimulator in the chest can help you normally breathe while sleeping. It monitors your breathing and then stimulates the brain to make your diaphragm breathe.

Lifestyle changes like losing weight, avoiding alcohol and sleep aids, sleeping on your side, and using breathing strips or nasal sprays (to combat sinus issues or nasal congestion) can also make a difference in your sleep quality. You don’t have to suffer from sleep apnea in any form as there is treatment.

If you find yourself symptoms of central sleep apnea, our team is ready to help. Call today to schedule a consultation so you can get the sleep your body needs!