Everything You Need To Know About Central Sleep Apnea

29 Aug Everything You Need To Know About Central Sleep Apnea

You may be aware of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), or you are at least familiar with its symptoms. There is actually another version of the disorder called central sleep apnea, which has symptoms that are less noticeable. Here is a helpful rundown of what you should know about this rarer sleep disorder and how you can treat it. 

The major difference between obstructive and central sleep apnea is that OSA is caused by the tissue of the airway being momentarily blocked, whereas CSA is caused by the brain not sending the body signals to continue breathing while asleep. Obstructive sleep apnea may be more recognizable to the untrained eye because its symptoms include loud snoring, snorting, choking and gasping for air. The symptoms of central sleep apnea are shallow breathing or short pauses, usually lasting for ten seconds or more. Both of them can result in the person feeling fatigued during the day, dealing with headaches in the morning and having a difficult time focusing on tasks.

Another significant difference between the two sleep disorders is their underlying causes. Obstructive sleep apnea can be caused by obesity, having a thick neck and using substances that relax muscles in the throat, like alcohol and sleeping pills. A person can modify these issues by losing weight through diet and exercise, limiting their alcohol consumption and weaning themselves off of sleeping pills. On the other hand, central sleep apnea is often connected to serious medical issues that relate to the brainstem, the spinal cord or the heart — these are problems that cannot be easily solved with healthier habits and lifestyle changes.

Everything You Need To Know About Central Sleep Apnea - feature

Pauses in breathing throughout the night will limit the amount of oxygen that travels into the brain. A person can deal with central sleep apnea in similar ways to obstructive sleep apnea, such as avoiding sleeping pills, maintaining a healthy weight and sleeping on their side. If you live in the area, you can buy a CPAP machine in Toronto along with the accompanying masks and additional products to start your treatment. A continuous positive airway pressure therapy device helps you breathe and forces oxygen to reach your brain for the entire night. The professional CPAP therapy services in Toronto will assist you with your essential purchase so that you don’t pick a mask that fits poorly or hurts you — they can even point you to the right accessories to make your sleep comfortable. For instance, if you are worried about the mask rubbing or pushing into your nasal bridge, get nasal CPAP cushions to create a soft barrier between your skin and the product. Toronto is not the only location that you can get this comprehensive customer service and these high-quality products — you can get CPAP masks in Barrie and locations like Milton, Mississauga and Vaughan.

People who are at risk of central sleep apnea have serious underlying conditions like arthritis in the cervical spine, Parkinson’s disease and encephalitis. Prescription opioids like morphine, oxycodone and codeine are linked to central sleep apnea, as well. These pills are often used to treat severe underlying conditions or to help patients recover from surgery but can cause irregular breathing patterns. Here is a list of other conditions and circumstances that are associated with a central sleep apnea diagnosis:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Kidney failure
  • Heart attack
  • Hypothyroid disease
  • Stroke
  • Surgery in the spine

Don’t ignore red flags like shallow breathing or long pauses while you sleep, especially when you are dealing with one of the above conditions or circumstances. Ignoring sleep apnea can have negative impacts on your health and make the symptoms of your other conditions worse. The right thing to do is consult a doctor, undergo a sleep study and get the treatment that you need as soon as you can.

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