There is More Than One Type of Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea Type

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that results when a constriction of the airways causes a brief cessation of breathing in the sleep. Commonly, a change in position or waking up lets the sleeper breath normally again for at least a short time. That is the common definition of condition called obstructive sleep apnea (the constriction or obstruction of the airways). But did you know there is more than one type of sleep apnea? Most people don’t, since it is hard to differentiate from obstructive sleep apnea, since it has a lot of the same symptoms.

It is rather easy to treat obstructive sleep apnea, usually with methods that keep the airway open during sleep, such as nasal breathing strips, CPAP machines for continuous air flow, or even surgical measures that remove unnecessary tissues in the throat. But there is a more uncommon form of the condition that may require more aggressive treatment. Central sleep apnea is a condition in which the brain does not send the signals to your body to tell you to breathe at the appropriate level for oxygen nourishment. There are many different causes for this condition, but some are not easily diagnosed. Consulting a doctor that specializes in sleep disorders is the best option in determining if your sleep apnea is obstructive or central.

Sleep Apnea Type

It is called a Central Sleep Apnea which the brain does not send the signals to your body to tell you to breathe at the appropriate level for oxygen nourishment.

Any type of damage to the brain stem, which controls breathing, can result in central sleep apnea. This cause is usually diagnosed immediately after an injury since other physical symptoms such as pain, numbness or tingling the limbs or mental confusion become evident. Another term to know is Cheyne-Stokes breathing, which is a rhythmic increase then decrease in breathing patterns, reaching the lowest point of cessation of breath. It is caused by such conditions as strokes or congestive heart failure (fluid around the heart).

The treatment of central sleep apnea varies with the severity of symptoms and the underlying cause that your doctor finds. For example, if you suffer from chronic pain and are on opiates for pain control, other methods for relief may be sought in order to reduce the use of opiates, since they tend to decrease the quality of breathing. Another is the use of a BiPAP (Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure) machine that increases air flow pressure when you breathe in, and reduces it when you exhale. The machines can also be set to force air intake if it detects that you have not taken a breath in a set period of time. They are also able to be attached to a source of pure oxygen in order to raise the level of oxygen in the body.

Knowledge is the best treatment in sleep apnea, so get more facts with “Sleep Apnea – When Snoring Can Be Fatal.” If you have, or know someone with sleep apnea, post your experiences here in order to help educate others. After all, sharing is caring.