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Central Sleep Apnea

Central Sleep Apnea Causes

A number of factors may cause central sleep apnea, including heart failure and the presence of underlying neurological conditions such as a stroke or Shy-Drager syndrome. In addition, sleeping at high altitudes may also trigger the condition.

Central Sleep Apnea Definition

Central sleep apnea is a condition characterized by breathing disturbances in sleep, often as a result of respirator weakness.

Central Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

Diagnostic steps to determine central sleep apnea may include: nocturnal polysomnography or nighttime monitoring of heart, brain, or lung activity and other associated functions; blood oxygen monitoring (oximetry); as well as portable breathing (cardiorespiratory) testing.

Central Sleep Apnea Symptoms and Signs

Common signs of central sleep apnea include: episodes of halted breathing during sleep; abnormal breathing while sleeping; abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath; insomnia or difficulty staying asleep; hypersomnia or excessive daytime sleepiness; momentary shortness of breath at night; and loss of concentration. Other symptoms associated with neurological-related central sleep apnea include: lightheadedness on standing up from a sitting or lying position; swallowing difficulties; as well as numbness or general weakness throughout the body. Additionally, patients with sleep apnea typically snore.

Central Sleep Apnea Treatment

General therapy for central sleep apnea mostly focuses on treating underlying conditions. Some techniques used are: reduction of opioid medications that may possibly cause sleep apnea; supplemental oxygen; medications to stimulate breathing; continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP); bilevel positive airway pressure (bilevel PAP); as well as adaptive servo-ventilation.

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