Central Sleep Apnea.

Learn about Treatment, Symptoms, Causes in Children and Adults.

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) is a type of Sleep Apnea which involves your Central Nervous System.


This kind of Sleep Apnea occurs when your brain does not send signals to the muscles that control breathing. You might not necessarily snore but your breathing might stop and start repeatedly while you sleep due to lack of respiratory functions.

It is less common when compared to Obstructive Sleep Apnea and it has been estimated that people who have this sleep disorder are less than 10 percent as stated by a report by CNN Health in the last quarter of 2009.

Types of Central Sleep Apnea.

As earlier said CSA occurs when your brain does not send signals to the breathing muscles. These muscles are found in your brainstem. It is your brainstem that controls your breathing and also your heart rate. The brainstem also connects your spinal cord to your brain.

The different types of CSA are;

  • Cheyne-Stokes Respiration CSA: You would experience this if you have a heart failure and stroke. In this case there is a steady, gradual increase and then decrease in breathing effort and airflow. The signals stops occur when there is a very weak breathing effort and lack of airflow.

  • Idiopathic CSA: This occurs when you have repeated pauses in your breathing effort and airflow, and it is also not associated with any other disease.

  • Drug Induced CSA: This kind of CSA is induced by the usage of certain drugs or medication which can distort or hamper your breathing pattern. Such drugs include but are not limited to morphine, codeine, or oxycodone.

  • Medical Condition Induced CSA: This is a kind of CSA that occurs because of damage to one’s brainstem by a medical condition or surgery.

  • High Altitude Periodic Breathing: This kind of CSA is induced when an individual is exposed to a high altitude, usually attitudes greater than 15,000 feet.

Causes of Central Sleep Apnea.

Well, there are a number of factors that can make you prone to CSA.

  • If you fly frequently at highaltitude, there is a tendency that you might experience CSA. Anything starting from 14,000 feet above sea level could bring about a loss of breath and trigger CSA.
  • Any life-threatening, disease or injury affecting your brainstem might result in breath seizures while you are sleeping or even awake.
  • Some certain substances like morphine, codeine or any painkillers that contain narcotics can induce CSA. These kinds of drugs may de-regularize your breathing pattern and trigger CSA.

Other causes include:

  • Severe Obesity
  • Neurodegenerative illnesses e.g. Parkinson’s
  • Complications arising from a cervical spine injury or even radiation of your cervical spine injury due to chemotherapy.

NEXT:Central Sleep Apnea Symptoms

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