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Central Sleep Apnea – Weatherford

The Less Common Form of Sleep Apnea

man unable to sleep

In most situations, when discussing sleep apnea, the topic surrounds obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This is due to the fact that OSA is incredibly common, affecting approximately 22 million Americans. However, many people are unaware of the other form of sleep apnea: central sleep apnea (CSA). Read on to learn more about the condition, how it works, potential complications, and when to seek professional help.

What Is Central Sleep Apnea?

man asleepa at desk

OSA and CSA are similar in the sense that they both consist of repetitive cessions in breathing throughout the night, so they result in similar symptoms. The difference is what’s causing these cessations. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the tissues in the upper airway relax and “obstruct” the free flow of air. On the other hand, central sleep apnea occurs when the brain isn’t sending the correct signals to the muscles that regulate breathing during sleep.

What Causes Central Sleep Apnea?

man sleeping in bed

CSA can be caused by several different factors. Here are the most common ones:

  • Cheyne-Stokes Breathing: This condition is apparent in about half of all CSA cases. It is defined as a cycle when a person’s breathing speeds up, slows down, stops, and starts up again.
  • Medications: Narcotic medications, like oxycodone and morphine, can affect your breathing patterns.
  • High Altitude: Central sleep apnea is more common at higher altitudes, especially above 8,000 feet.
  • Medical Conditions: Medical conditions, including kidney failure, heart failure, and stroke can all increase your risk of CSA.

Possible Complications of Central Sleep Apnea

sleep test results

CSA is associated with many serious health conditions. They include:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Heart failure
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

If you've experienced one or more of the conditions listed above, having CSA can worsen them, putting you at higher risk.

When Should You See a Doctor?

woman speaking to doctor

If you are concerned about your quality of sleep, or your significant other has noticed that your breathing stops at night, this warrants a visit to your doctor. You can discuss your symptoms and see if any next steps should be taken, like undergoing a sleep test. Once you receive a diagnosis, you can work together to find a treatment plan that works best for you. For some patients, an adjustment of medication is enough to see improvement while others benefit from oral appliance or combined therapy. By seeking help from a professional, you can work on getting the quality sleep you need to thrive!

114 W Columbia St., Weatherford, TX 76086 USA
Deborah A. Romack, DDS Weatherford, TX dentist providing sleep apnea therapy. (817) 594-3806