Central sleep apnea (CSA) often occurs because of or in accordance with other medical issues ranging from heart problems to neurological diseases. Though the exact causes of CSA are often murky, our experts suggest patients who are at a high risk for CSA maintain a healthy lifestyle and monitor their sleep quality closely.
Symptoms of Central Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can result in symptoms affecting not only your sleeping but also your waking life. Central sleep apnea (CSA), a rarer type of the disorder as compared to obstructive sleep apnea, involves failed messages travelling from your brain to your breathing muscles, resulting in irregular breathing during the night. The symptoms of CSA are often similar to those of OSA, so distinguishing between the two disorders often requires a visit to our experts.
The symptoms of central sleep apnea include:
- Loud snoring
- Morning headaches
- Sudden mood swings or irritability
- Difficulty focusing
- Extreme daytime sleepiness
- Shortness of breath
- Awakening suddenly during the night due to shortness of breath
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heart beat
- Uneven or stopped breathing during sleep
Your partner may notice and alert you to some of these symptoms, like snoring or changes in your breathing pattern while sleeping. Oftentimes, though, snoring resulting from CSA is not as disruptive as snoring with obstructive sleep apnea.
If you experience any of these symptoms, schedule a consultation with our experts, as your health and livelihood may be in jeopardy. People with sleep apnea are at an increased risk for involvement in accident-related injuries like car crashes. Central sleep apnea, if left untreated, can also lead to more serious and detrimental medical conditions.
Causes of Central Sleep Apnea
Day in and day out your brain sends messages to your breathing muscles to, in a nutshell, breathe. When the brain fails to send these important signals, central sleep apnea is the result. If the brainstem, the link between the brain and the spinal cord that controls your breathing, is impaired, central sleep apnea (CSA) ensues. Oftentimes, CSA afflicts adults with preexisting medical conditions. The causes of CSA vary and are often tied to these medical problems.
If you have any of these medical issues, consult our experts, as you may be at a greater risk for developing CSA.
Medical conditions that may prompt the occurrence of CSA include:
- Heart failure
- Kidney failure
- Neurological diseases ranging from Alzheimer’s to Parkinson’s, as well as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Respiratory disorders
Leaving central sleep apnea untreated can result in a worsening of any of these accompanying medical conditions. As a result, seeking immediate treatment for CSA from our experts is highly advised. Call our office today to schedule a consultation regarding your sleep disorder and possible treatment plans. Whether or not you have central sleep apnea, better sleep and a better life may be closer than you think.
Risk Factors for Central Sleep Apnea
The most common risk factors for CSA are:
- Heart disorders. If you have any type of heart problem, such as atrial fibrillation or a heart murmur, you are at a greater risk for CSA. If you notice any change in heart rate or function, consult a specialist immediately.
- Brain conditions. Having a stroke or a brain tumor may interfere with regular messages sent from the brain to the breathing muscles. This interference often results in CSA.
- Age. Those advanced in age (65 or older) are more susceptible to CSA, as they often have other ongoing medical issues that can lead to central sleep apnea.
- Gender. Men are more likely to develop both types of sleep apnea, including CSA.
- Opiates. Morphine, codeine, or any other sort of narcotic can often prompt CSA symptoms.
- High altitude. If you move to a location with a much higher altitude than that to which you are accustomed, you may get CSA. This type of sleep apnea often disappears once you return to a lower altitude.
- CPAP. Occasionally a treatment for obstructive sleep apnea known as CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) can result in the formation of central sleep apnea. In this case, continuous CPAP treatment or an alternative air pressure therapy may eliminate this type of central sleep apnea.
If any of these risk factors mirror you and your current health situation, visiting our experts to discuss central sleep apnea and its identifiers may prove worthwhile.
Treatment Options for Central Sleep Apnea
Central sleep apnea (CSA) is the lesser known type of sleep apnea, as it is less common than obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The effect of both types of sleep apnea is the same: repeated starts and stops in your breathing throughout your sleep. CSA is a more serious form of sleep apnea because it involves the brain and its inability to properly relay signals to breathing muscles. Where OSA is a mechanical issue, CSA is a cerebral one.
If you suffer from CSA, our experts can ensure you receive proper treatment. Treatments for this type of sleep apnea include:
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). This is often the first treatment administered. Also used to treat OSA, CPAP pumps air into your airway through a mask worn over your nose during sleep.
- Adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV). ASV may be given if CPAP proves an ineffective sleep apnea treatment. ASV is more responsive than CPAP, adjusting to your breathing pattern to release required amounts of pressurized air.
- Bilevel positive airway pressure (BPAP). This treatment is similar to ASV but differs in that BPAP applies a fixed amount of pressure during inspiration. If you are breathless for any amount of time, BPAP can be programmed to provide a breath when a designated time elapses.
- Treating related medical issues. Oftentimes, other disorders cause CSA to occur. These can include heart or neurological problems. Addressing these accompanying problems may help relieve CSA.
- Reducing opiate amounts. Taking morphine or other types of opiates can cause CSA. If this is the case, our expert may slowly reduce your opiate dosage to ease your CSA symptoms.
- Supplemental oxygen. Oxygen can be delivered to your lungs through a variety of devices. Consult our experts for more specific information regarding oxygen masks and appliances.
Central sleep apnea, although usually a more serious condition than obstructive sleep apnea, is still treatable on the whole.