Central Sleep Apnea Treatment: What Are My Options?

What Is This Form Of Sleep Apnea?

When you think of Sleep Apnea, most people automatically think of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). However, this sleep disorder can come in many different forms. One of them is Central Sleep Apnea (CSA). While not as common as OSA, this form of Sleep Apnea is equally as challenging and dangerous if left untreated. 

Unlike OSA which is more mechanical in nature, Central Sleep Apnea is caused by a disruption of the brain’s respiratory drive. While sleeping, the brain is unable to adequately send signals to the muscles required for breathing control. When this happens, breathing becomes disrupted and unregulated. 

During a central hypopnea, lung function is reduced. Although some air is getting through, it is not enough to fill the lungs. Hypopneas that are related to CSA are often characterized by a drop in blood oxygen levels. 

Common Symptoms Of CSA

The symptoms of Central Sleep Apnea share a lot of similarities to that of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. It’s important that if you notice yourself or someone you love display any of the following signs that you speak with a physician as soon as possible:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Abnormal breathing patterns
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Headaches each morning

All of the above are signs that you are not achieving adequate sleep quality each night and could be an indication that you are suffering from either OSA or CSA. 

What Causes CSA?

Central Sleep Apnea is most often caused by an existing or underlying health condition. As CSA is caused by a fault in the brainstem, there are many medical conditions that are known to impact this part of the brain. This then can lead to the development of CSA. 

Research suggests that the health conditions that are most often associated with CSA include congestive heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, Parkinson’s disease, encephalitis and a condition called Cheyne-Stokes breathing. 

It is also possible for certain medications to cause a type of CSA which is referred to as a drug-induced apnea. Powerful painkillers such as opioids have been known to cause irregular breathing patterns. In cases where the cause of CSA can’t be determined, you are diagnosed with idiopathic Central Sleep Apnea. 

Central Sleep Apnea Treatment: The Best Options Available

The first course of action when it comes to Central Sleep Apnea treatment is to manage the underlying health conditions. However, most individuals diagnosed with this form of Sleep Apnea will also be prescribed the use of a CPAP machine or an ASV machine. 

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy has been noted as being beneficial to those with OSA but can also help to treat CSA. The delivery of constant air pressure will ensure that air continues to be delivered to the lungs at a steady rate. 

However, for those that don’t find CPAP therapy beneficial, Adaptive Servo-Ventilation (ASV) may be prescribed as part of Central Sleep Apnea treatment.  This is a more advanced version of CPAP which can detect when someone has stopped breathing entirely and will adjust pressure accordingly to initiate a breath. 

Whether you believe you are suffering from OSA or CSA, it is vital to seek professional advice from your physician. Letting this sleep disorder go untreated can have serious impacts on your health. For more information on the machines used to treat CSA, contact our team at Monster CPAP today. We’ve got you covered. 


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