What is it?

Central sleep apnea is a disorder describing the phenomenon in which, during sleep, your breathing repeatedly stops and starts.
In central sleep apnea the cause to that is your brain which doesn't send proper signals to the muscles controlling your breathing. Thereby, your breathing stops repetitively.
Other conditions can cause central sleep apnea, such as heart failure, stroke, sleeping at a high altitude.

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Signs & symptoms

Common signs and symptoms of central sleep apnea include:
- Episodes of not breathing or abnormal breathing patterns during sleep
- Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath and cough
- Insomnia (difficulty staying asleep)
- Lack of focus
- Snoring
- Mood swings

Diagnosis

Based on your signs and symptoms, you may be referred to a sleep disorder center. There, a sleep specialist will decide on further evaluation. This might involve a sleep study called polysomnography - an overnight monitoring of your body and other body functions. During polysomnography several body functions are monitored while you sleep. This test can confirm a central sleep apnea condition and rule out other causes such as obstructive sleep apnea.

Treatment

Treatments for central sleep apnea include:
- Addressing associated medical problems.
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). CPAP is used to treat obstructive sleep apnea, involves wearing a mask over your nose or your nose and mouth while asleep.
- Adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV). Like CPAP, ASV also delivers pressurized air and is used If CPAP doesn't effectively treat your condition well.
- Bilevel positive airway pressure (BPAP). BPAP delivers pressure when you inhale (breathe in) and a different amount of pressure when you exhale (breathe out).

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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