Central Sleep Apnea
CSA occurs when signals from the central nervous system fail to “tell” the lungs to breath. This may result in periods where the sufferer does not breath at all or extended periods of dysfunctional breathing where oxygen intake is too shallow.
These periods of shallow breathing may be followed by a period of breathing too deeply. This disordered oxygen intake is referred to as Cheyne-Stokes breathing.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
As the name suggests, this type of sleep apnea is caused by an obstruction to the airway. Most often, this is the result of the rear of the throat temporarily “closing” while the sufferer sleeps.
Mixed Sleep Apnea
Mixed sleep apnea is a combination of OSA and CSA. In most cases of mixed sleep apnea, the OSA episodes are diagnosed and treated first. It is usually only when this problem is resolved that the CSA aspect of the condition is detected.
Who Suffers from Sleep Apnea?
While sleep apnea is more common in adults, roughly two to three percent of children are thought to suffer from the disorder. The condition is more likely to affect African Americans than Caucasians, though the reasons behind this are not fully understood.
OSA is more common in men than women. In fact, it is thought that as many as one in four men over 40 experience OSA. Despite its prevalence in men, 80 percent of people who suffer with this type of sleep apnea are unaware of the problem and go undiagnosed.
CSA often occurs in people who are already suffering from diseases of the cardiovascular, brain, or nervous system. For instance, it is quite common among people with Parkinson’s Disease or kidney failure and stroke survivors. CSA can also occur in people with severe arthritis when their condition affects the base of the skull or cervical spine.
Some of the main sleep apnea risk factors are:
- A family history of sleep apnea
- Being overweight
- Consuming alcohol
- A bigger neck circumference