Friday, January 8, 2010

Sleep Apnea: Central Verses Obstructive

There are two types of sleep apnea. Both types cause people to stop breathing as they sleep. When this happens, their brain forces them awake to breathe.

People with OSA stop breathing for 10 to 30 seconds, sometimes for one minute or longer hundreds of times a night.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the type of apnea that can be treated with oral appliance therapy (OAT). Because OSA occurs when the airway becomes blocked, the problem can be remedied by opening up the airway. Oral devices do this by moving the lower jaw and tongue forward.

A common cause of OSA is obesity. When a person’s throat is too heavy, it can collapse on the airway during sleep. Learn more risk factors here.

Central sleep apnea (CSA) is not caused by a collapsed airway. Instead, it reflects a problem in the brain or heart. CSA results when these organs move an abnormal amount of oxygen into the lungs.

There are five sub-categories of CSA. One form of central sleep apnea commonly affects people with congestive heart failure. CSA can also result from a stoke damaging the brainstem.

Like OSA, CSA can be treated with positive airway pressure (PAP). PAP keeps a person’s airway open during sleep by providing a steady stream of air though a nose and mouth mask.

OSA and CSA share several warning signs. These signs include loud snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness. People with CSA may also wake up short of breath or have trouble falling asleep.

OSA and CSA can both be diagnosed at an overnight sleep study. Find an accredited sleep center near you.

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.