The different types of sleep apnea

April 22, 2017 |  by  |  Types of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that is characterized by the reduction of air flow. This can be in the form of the breathing becoming very slow or in most cases there breathing stops all together. The period of time where there is no breath is known as the apnea. The apnea will occur for at least 10 seconds and can continue for a few minutes. Apneas usually occur during sleep and will vary from person to person. Sleep apnea can be treated with surgery or by the use of nonsurgical devices such as a CPAP machine. More often than not the first line of treatment for any type of sleep apnea will be the use of a CPAP machine. There are three different types of sleep apnea that one should be aware of.

Central Sleep Apnea

One of the sleep apnea types is known as central sleep apnea or CSA for short. Central sleep apnea is rare and not one of the most common types of sleep apnea. This form of sleep apnea is a little different in the sense that this apnea results from the brain not being able to send signals to the vital organs of the body. This includes sending the signal to breathe. This type of sleep apnea most often occurs in premature infants or adults who have different forms of either cardiovascular disease or cerebrovascular disease. There have been cases where this type of sleep apnea has resulted from certain medications as well as being in high altitudes.

Under normal conditions our brains will monitor all of our vital organs. Our brain will determine how often to breathe and how fast or slow our respirations should be. When our brain senses a lack of oxygen in the blood or even an excess of carbon dioxide it will alter our breathing accordingly. However for people with sleep apnea they will wind up with an increase level of carbon dioxide in the blood. Due to the constant stopping of breathing our brains may be a bit slow to catch up. The relay of messages is stopped and thus this becomes very serious types of sleep apnea.

Central sleep apnea is often treated by dealing with the underlying medical conditions that have caused this disorder in the first place. Most patients are also placed on CPAP machines as well.

Obstructive sleep apnea

Probably the most common of the sleep apnea types is that of obstructive sleep apnea. Often time’s people will just call this form sleep apnea. There are four major components that make up sleep apnea. In order to have sleep apnea these four things will need to happen:

1. The airway closes or collapses so that breathing is halted.
2. The body tries to react and breathing is attempted but it is not successful
3. The oxygen level in the blood drops dramatically
4. Lastly as the oxygen level drops the brain signals the body to wake up. One will begin gasping for air.

These 4 things happen and in that order with this type of sleep apnea. Most people with this form of sleep apnea will also have a smaller and often more narrow airway than most people. With this common types of sleep apnea most patients will wake up numerous times during the night due to cessation of breathing. Some people will wake up over 100 times a night however they will often not remember waking up. This form of sleep apnea is often treated by CPAP therapy.

Mixed Sleep Apnea

In this type of sleep apnea patients will have a combination of both of the forms of sleep apnea listed above. This can be caused from hereditary issues, medical problems or a combination of both. This type of sleep apnea is not very common and most people often fall under one of the other two categories.