There are three different types of sleep apnea: Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) which is the most common, Central Sleep Apnea (CSA), and Mixed Sleep Apnea. With Central Sleep Apnea the individual’s breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep because of a lack of respiratory effort. When this lack of respiratory effort occurs the brain fails to transmit the proper signal to the breathing muscles.
Symptoms of CSA include: observed episodes of stopped or abnormal breathing patterns while sleeping (this is noticed by a sleep partner rather than the individual with sleep apnea); abrupt awakenings with a shortness of breath; insomnia; excessive daytime sleepiness; problems with concentration; and load snoring. Individuals experiencing some or all of these symptoms are recommended to seek medical attention. Left undiagnosed and/or untreated can lead to medical conditions such as cardiovascular problems and daytime fatigue. sleep apnea
There are certain factors that can put individuals at risk for developing central sleep apnea. These factors include: being male; being diagnosed with congestive heart failure or atrial fibrillation; stroke or brain tumor; living at a high altitude; and taking certain medications that affect breathing.
There are five types of CAS. Idiopathic central sleep apnea; Cheyne-Stokes respiration; Medical condition induced apnea; High-altitude periodic breathing; and Drug or substance induced apnea.
o Idiopathic central sleep is the most uncommon type of CSA, the cause of this disorder is unknown. With this disorder there is a repeated pause in an individual’s breathing effort and airflow.
o Cheyne-Stokes respiration is the type of CSA that is most commonly associated with individuals who have congestive heart failure or a stroke.
o Medical condition induced apnea is type of CSA this is associated with a medical condition that has caused damage to the brainstem with controls an individual’s breathing.
o High-altitude periodic breathing is the type of CSA that occurs when an individual is exposed to high altitudes (altitudes greater than 15,000 feet).
o Drug or substance induced apnea. This type of CSA is caused when an individual takes certain medications (such as morphine, codeine, or oxycodone) which cause the breathing pattern to become irregular or to stop completely.
Treatment options for this sleeping issue
There are several treatment options for individuals with central sleep apnea. These treatment options include:
o Reduction in the use of medication that causes the breathing pattern to become irregular.
o Use of supplemental oxygen while sleeping.
o Medication to stimulate breathing.
o The use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. This involves the individual with this sleeping issue wearing a mask over the nose while sleeping. The mask is attached by a hose to a pump that supplies constant pressured air. This pressured air keeps the upper airway open and prevents airway closure.
o The use of a bilevel positive airway pressure (bilevel PAP) device. This again involves an individual with this sleeping issue wearing a mask over the nose while sleeping and the mask is attached by a hose to a pump that provides air; however, unlike the CPAP machine which supplies constant pressured air, the bilevel PAP has a higher pressure when an individual inhales and a lower pressure when the individual exhales.
o The use of an adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV) device. This is the newest device available. This device monitors the normal breathing pattern of an individual and stores this pattern in a computer. Once the individual falls asleep, the stored information is used by the computer to regulate the individual’s breathing pattern to prevent pauses.