What Are The Symptoms of Central Sleep Apnea?

Central Sleep Apnea

central sleep apneaCentral sleep apnea or CSA is a very uncommon version of apnea.  While obstructive apnea is seen in a growing number of the population, and is due to blocking of the airway, CSA involves the nervous and respiratory systems.  An apnea is an event of suspended breathing and repeated apneas can lead to serious complications, one of which includes awakenings and a loss of quality sleep.

Common Symptoms of Central Sleep Apnea

Patients suffering from CSA have often reported typical symptoms of insomnia.  These symptoms can include:

  • Inability to maintain a continuous deep sleep
  • Repeated awakenings in the middle of the night
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Strong urges to nap through the day
  • Fatigue
  • Headache

Most of these symptoms can be attributed directly to the effect that CSA has on a person’s quality of sleep.  The awakenings take away from one’s ability to complete full cycles of NREM and REM sleep, destroying a healthy sleep pattern.

Sleep is not the only thing affected by CSA, however.  Other symptoms of central sleep apnea can include shortness of breath, as well as continued events of varied breathing that occur during sleep.  These fluctuations in the breathing pattern come from the bodies reaction to an apnea.

In CSA there is no obstruction to the patient’s breathing.  Instead, the signal to breathe is either never sent or recieved.  The result is a complete failure to breathe without any struggle at all.  The bodies chemical levels–specifically levels of oxygen and C02–are affected.  Depending on how long the apnea lasts, the change in oxygen level can be minor, or it can cause the body to respond by speeding up the breathing.  This regulation of the breathing leads to a unbalanced rhythm that fails to maintain the bodies ideal level of oxygen.

Causes of Central Sleep Apnea

Because this type of sleep apnea is so much rarer, less is known about it.  Patients that have heart trouble or stroke seem to be at a much greater risk for central sleep apnea.  Those that have struggled with congestive heart failure are much more likely to see problems with uneven breathing.

What is certain though, is that CSA is more often than not caused by an underlying disorder or problem.  While that cause can be either heart related, or deal exclusively with nerve damage, it is rare for the primary order to be CSA itself.

For more information and studies about sleep disorders visit InsomniacAnonymous.

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