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The Differences Between Central Sleep Apnea and Obstructive Sleep Apnea

By: Houston Sleep Solutions | Published 11/30/2021

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Central sleep apnea is a condition in which your breathing stops repeatedly and starts during sleep.

Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain does not send the right signals to the organs in your brain that control your breathing. This condition differs from OSA where you are usually unable to breathe due to obstruction of the upper respiratory tract. Central Sleep Apnea is less common than sleep apnea. Central Sleep Apnea can result from other conditions, such as heart failure and stroke. Another possible cause is sleeping at a high altitude.

Central sleep may involve the treatment of pre-existing conditions such as shortness of breath or additional oxygenation.

SYMPTOMS

Common signs and symptoms of central sleep apnea include:

  • Observed episodes of not breathing or abnormal breathing patterns during sleep
  • Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath
  • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mood changes
  • Morning headaches
  • Snoring
  • Observed episodes of not breathing or abnormal breathing patterns during sleep
  • Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath
  • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mood changes
  • Morning headaches
  • Snoring

Although snoring indicates some obstruction in the flow of air, snoring can also occur during central sleep apnea. But snoring may not be as noticeable in Central Sleep Apnea as in Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

When to contact Houston Sleep Solutions

Consult with Dr. Montz and the team at Houston Sleep Solutions if you have, or if your partner notices, any signs, or symptoms of central sleep apnea, particularly the following:

  • Shortness of breath that awakens you from sleep
  • Pauses in your breathing during sleep
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Excessive daytime drowsiness, which may cause you to fall asleep while you’re working, watching television, or even driving

Ask Houston Sleep Solutions about any sleep problems that may be causing chronic fatigue, drowsiness, and irritability. Excessive daytime sleepiness can be caused by problems such as lack of sleep at night (chronic insomnia), sudden sleep apnea, or sleep apnea.

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