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What is Central Sleep Apnea?

By: Houston Sleep Solutions | Published 11/09/2021

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INTRODUCTION

Central sleep apnea (CSA) is a condition in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly during sleep. Always contact Drs. David Montz and Michael Maher and Nathalie Dunwody at Houston Sleep Solutions in Pearland and Friendswood TX, to discuss a treatment plan:

CSA occurs because the brain doesn’t send the right signals to the muscles that control breathing. This condition is different from obstructive sleep apnea, where you cannot breathe normally due to an obstruction in the upper airways.

CSA is less common than obstructive sleep apnea.

CSA be caused by other conditions such as heart failure and stroke. Another possible reason is sleeping at heights.

Treatment for central sleep apnea may include treating existing medical conditions, using breathing aids, or taking oxygen supplements.

CSA SYMPTOMS

Common signs and symptoms of central sleep apnea are:

  • Episodes of shortness of breath or abnormal breathing patterns while sleeping
  • Sudden awakening with difficulty breathing
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mood swings
  • Morning headache
  • Snoring

Although snoring indicates some degree of airflow obstruction, snoring can also be heard in the presence of central sleep apnea. However, snoring may not be as prominent with central sleep apnea as it is with obstructive sleep apnea.

When should I see a doctor?

Contact your doctor if you or your partner develop signs or symptoms of central sleep apnea, especially the following:

  • Shortness of breath that wakes you up
  • Sleep apnea
  • Difficult sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness can make you fall asleep while working, watching TV, or even driving a car.

Ask your doctor about sleep problems that cause chronic fatigue, sleepiness, or irritability. Excessive daytime sleepiness can be caused by other medical conditions, such as not having enough time to get enough sleep at night (chronic insomnia), sudden attacks of sleep (narcolepsy), or obstructive sleep apnea.

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