Central sleep apnea is less common than obstructive sleep apnea, but is equally problematic for our health, mood, productivity, and general well-being. It is a serious condition that should be addressed sooner rather than later.
Central sleep apnea occurs during sleep when our brain fails to send signals to our breathing muscles telling them to keep working. As part of the automatic nervous system, this process is usually not something we ever have to think about. It happens outside of our conscious thought. In fact, it is such an automatic system that our bodies will sometimes cause us to faint when we are having problems breathing as an attempt to remove our conscious control and resume natural breathing.
Symptoms of central sleep apnea generally overlap with those of obstructive, making differentiation clinically difficult. A primary symptom that often sets central apart from obstructive happens when you are abruptly awakened, feeling a sense of panic, and being short of breath. This can cause difficulty in getting to sleep and getting back to sleep afterwards. Additional symptoms include awakening with a dry mouth, the apparent stopping of breathing during sleep that others would notice, excessive daytime sleeping, and morning headache, among other things.
For more about the symptoms of central sleep apnea, contact our sleep apnea dentist.