Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night gasping for no apparent reason? If so, you might be suffering from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a common sleeping disorder that affects many people across the board. There are two different kinds of sleep apnea: central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea.
Central sleep apnea (CSA) occurs when the brain does not effectively send signals that control breathing. This results in breathing difficulties. On the other hand, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the respiratory airways are blocked, causing you to stop breathing instantaneously. Of the two, obstructive sleep apnea is the most common.
What Is the Difference Between OSA and CSA?
The difference between OSA and central sleep apnea is quite clear. Firstly, OSA often leads to loud snoring due to blocked airways, while people with central sleep apnea do not snore as much. Additionally, OSA is common among people with obesity and those who indulge in drugs, alcohol, caffeine and tobacco.
The fact that snoring is quite conspicuous among people with OSA can be misleading. It makes many to believe that they do not have sleep apnea simply because they do not snore. However, according to Dr. James Courey of Specialized Dentistry of New Jersey, snoring should not be viewed as a precursor to OSA.
You can have sleep apnea without snoring. In fact, if you were once a snorer and you no longer snore, it might indicate that your sleep apnea is now much more severe due to complete blockage of the airways.
Symptoms of Central Sleep Apnea
The symptoms of central sleep apnea are difficult to discern. This is because central sleep apnea does not involve loud snoring like OSA. The chest will not even rise and fall. For these reasons, central sleep apnea could be much more dangerous than OSA as the obvious symptoms are not noticeable.
Common symptoms of central sleep apnea include:
- Daytime fatigue
- Abrupt awakenings
- Attention problems
- Morning headaches
- Episodic breathing cessation
Sleep apnea is dangerous and can lead to other serious conditions such as heart attack and high blood pressure. The only way to find out if you have sleep apnea is to consult a reputable doctor. If you think you or a loved one might be suffering from sleep apnea, don’t hesitate to contact SDNJ at (732) 410-7101 today.