Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder in which a person stops breathing for a few seconds while sleeping. Most of us might be well aware of the most prevalent type of sleep apnea, which is obstructive sleep apnea. However, it usually goes unrecognized that there are other types of sleep apneas. The different types of sleep apnea are explained below.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
OSA is the most common form of sleep apnea. It is estimated that Obstructive Sleep Apnea affects about four percent of men and two percent of women. OSA is caused by complete or partial blockage of airways while sleeping.
During apnea, the air will not be able to move beyond the obstruction decreasing the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain. The brain will have to awaken partially from sleep to make the body breathe. Usually, this will be accompanied by loud chocking, gasping, or snorting sounds as the person takes deep breath to fight the obstruction.
Symptoms of OSA can include loud snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, frequent breaks in breathing while sleeping, restless sleep, and irritability or depression.
Central Sleep Apnea
CSA happens when brain momentarily fails to signal the muscles that control breathing. OSA can be thought as a mechanical problem, whereas CSA is more of a communication issue. CSA is much less common than OSA, and as per some estimates, almost 20% of the cases of sleep apnea are CSA.
The cause of CSA is often times medical conditions and problems affecting the brain. Different causes can lead to varied symptoms and different types of CSA. Symptoms include irregular breathing or stopping breathing during sleep, chronic fatigue, breath shortness leading to awakenings, morning headaches, difficulty in concentrating, mood swings, and snoring (not as prevalent as in cases of OSA).
Mixed Sleep Apnea or Complex Sleep Apnea
Complex Sleep Apnea shows a combination of both OSA and CSA symptoms. Some of the OSA patients being treated with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines can develop symptoms of CSA. This has been noticed in sleep labs and a recent research found that about fifteen percent of the sleep apnea patients believed to have OSA actually suffered from mixed sleep apnea.
As per the study, the airways of the patients were freed during CPAP treatment for patients with OSA by splinting them open. However, the patients continued to face difficulty on breathing. Their OSA symptoms shifted to CSA symptoms with CPAP therapy.
These are some of the different types of sleep apnea. If you have symptoms of any of the above sleep disorders, visit a physician at the earliest and make sure that the health condition is properly dealt with. If the symptom is just snoring, you can try an anti snoring mouth guard or some other anti snoring aids to counter the issues before it turns worse.