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All about sleep apnea types of sleep apnea obstructive sleep apnea syndrome causes of obstructive sleep apnea symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea central sleep apnea causes of central sleep apnea symptoms of central sleep apnea risk factors for sleep apnea complications of sleep apnea diagnosis of sleep apnea treatment for sleep apnea surgeries to stop sleep apnea CPAP therapy for sleep apnea {sleep disorders} dysomnias insomnia narcolepsy sleep apnea restless legs syndrome delayed sleep phase syndrome night terror sleepwalking (somnambulism) bedwetting sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) sleeping sickness sleep paralysis snoring bruxism jet lag

What is central sleep apnea?

Central sleep apnea is a sleep breathing disorder that occurs when the brain fails to send the appropriate signals to the breathing muscles to initiate respirations. It is far less common than obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when air can't flow into or out of the person's nose or mouth, although efforts to breathe continue. In central sleep apnea, although the airway is open, changes in the part of the brain that controls breathing bring a temporary halt to the body's effort to breathe. Rarely, people have a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea is caused by dysfunction

in the part of the brain that controls breathing (brain stem). Normally, the brain stem is very sensitive to changes in the blood level of carbon dioxide (a by-product of the metabolism of oxygen). When the level is high, the brain stem signals the respiratory muscles to breathe harder and faster to remove carbon dioxide through exhalation, and vice versa.

In central sleep apnea, the brain stem is less sensitive to changes in the carbon dioxide level. Because the brain stem responds slowly to the buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood, the body's response is exaggerated, resulting in prolonged hyperventilation. Similarly, because the brain stem responds slowly to the removal of carbon dioxide from the blood, the body's response - a pause in breathing - is prolonged. Brain stem dysfunction that leads to central sleep apnea may be due to brain tumors. People who have heart failure may have central sleep apnea. In one form of central sleep apnea, called Ondine's curse, people may breathe inadequately or not at all except when they are fully awake. Central sleep apnea is not associated with obesity.

Cessation of breathing, especially during sleep, is the primary symptom of central sleep apnea. People with apnea of unknown cause may have frequent awakenings and complain of insomnia. If a neurological condition is causing the apnea, it may also produce other symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, change in voice, variable weakness, or numbness throughout the body, depending on the underlying disease and what parts of the nervous system it has affected.

More information on sleep apnea

What is sleep apnea? - Sleep apnea is a disorder in which a person stops breathing during the night. Sleep apnea means cessation of breath characterized by repetitive episodes of upper airway obstruction.
What types of sleep apnea are there? - There are three types of sleep apnea, including obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), central sleep apnea, mixed sleep apnea.
What is obstructive sleep apnea? - Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder in which complete or partial obstruction of the airway during sleep causes loud snoring, oxyhemoglobin desaturations and frequent arousals.
What causes obstructive sleep apnea? - Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by repetitive upper airway obstruction during sleep as a result of narrowing of the respiratory passages.
What're the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea? - Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include loud snoring, Daytime sleepiness, memory changes, depression, and irritability.
What is central sleep apnea? - Central sleep apnea is a sleep breathing disorder that occurs when the brain fails to send the appropriate signals to the breathing muscles to initiate respirations.
What causes central sleep apnea? - Conditions that can cause sentral sleep apnea include bulbar poliomyelitis, encephalitis affecting the brainstem, neurodegenerative illnesses.
What're the symptoms of central sleep apnea? - Symptoms of central sleep apnea include extreme exhaustion and sleepiness during daylight hours, early morning headaches, lack of concentration, and memory loss.
What are the risk factors for sleep apnea? - There are several factors that may predispose a person towards sleep apnea, including gender, age, ethnicity, geography, obesity, immune abnormalities.
What are the complications of sleep apnea? - Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening condition because there are interruptions in breathing during sleep.
How is sleep apnea diagnosed? - A sleep test, called polysomnography is done to diagnose sleep apnea. Confirmation of the diagnosis requires making measurements while the person sleeps.
What's the treatment to stop sleep apnea? - Treatment for sleep apnea is determined based on the individual's specific circumstances and can include behavioral changes, physical therapy and surgery.
What surgeries are available to cure sleep apnea? - Surgeries to stop sleep apnea include uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty, tracheostomy, radiofrequency ablation.
What about the CPAP therapy for sleep apnea? - The most effective treatment for sleep apnea is nasal continuous positive airflow pressure (CPAP) therapy.
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005, health-cares.net, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005