Central sleep apnea (CSA) is the imbalance of the brains’ respiratory control centers. What happens is the basic neurological controls for breathing rate malfunctions and fails to give the signal to breathe, causing the individual to miss one or more cycles of breathing. If the pause in breathing is long enough, the percentage of oxygen
in the circulation will drop to a lower than normal level and the concentration of carbon dioxide will build to a higher than normal level.
This type of sleep apnea can be quite serious if undetected and could cause brain damage, seizures, heart attacks or even death. This is the type of apnea that affects infants in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Of the sleep apnea sufferers only about 20% have CSA.
Symptoms of CSA:
• Episodes of stopped breathing or abnormal breathing patterns during sleep
• Abrupt wakening’s accompanied by shortness of breath
• Shortness of breath that can be relieved by sitting up
• Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
• Difficulty concentrating during the daytime
• Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
• Mood changes
• Morning headaches
Medical conditions such as having had a stroke, heart attack, spine surgery, congestive heart failure can increase your chance of having CSA. Consuming opiate drugs or powerful painkillers can also cause irregular breathing.