Similarly to obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, central sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that involves the cessation of breathing repeatedly through the entire duration of sleep. However, central sleep apnea is not caused by a simple blockage or closure of the airways due to excess tissue at the back of the throat. Instead, central sleep apnea, or CSA, occurs when the brain forgets to send the proper signals to the muscles that control the breathing throughout the night. As a result, the body makes no effort to breathe for certain periods of time. While central sleep apnea is less common than obstructive sleep apnea, our sleep apnea dentist in Pasadena warns that CSA can occur in combination with OSA as a dangerous mix.
Unlike obstructive sleep apnea, loud and chronic snoring does not generally happen with central sleep apnea unless it is combined with OSA. Rather, the Cheyne-Stokes breathing condition, or periodic shallow breathing and underneath breathing that alternates with deep over-breathing sounds, is fairly common in those with CSA. Still, the symptoms associated with central sleep apnea are often times the same as the symptoms in obstructive sleep apnea. These include chronic fatigue, daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, restless sleep, mood problems, difficulty concentrating throughout the day and frequent urination throughout the night.
Central sleep apnea is more common in those who also suffer from certain medical conditions or who use certain medications, such as opiates. For instance, those who have had or have chronic heart failure, problems with the brain stem, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, a stroke, kidney failure, and conditions of the cervical spine and neck can suffer from CSA more frequently. People with neurological diseases can also suffer from CSA, and their symptoms can include a difficulty in swallowing, voice changes and a sense of numbness in their body. However, it is duly noted that there may not be a health condition causing CSA, and this is referred to as idiopathic central sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea, no matter what form, has very high health risks associated with it that can be life-threatening if it is left untreated. Thus, contact our expert in central sleep apnea in Pasadena for more information if these symptoms or health conditions sound familiar to you and your health.