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What’s the Difference Between Obstructive and Central Sleep Apnea?

Submitted by New Jersey Snoring Solutions on Tue 01/13/2015 - 10:19

Sleep apnea can be a scary condition, given that individuals who suffer from it unconsciously temporarily stop breathing many times throughout the night. In fact, some people with sleep apnea can suffer hundreds of episodes each night.

The first step in treating sleep apnea is to understand what it is. This includes recognizing the difference between the two main forms of sleep apnea: obstructive and central. Here, the knowledgeable team at New Jersey Sleep Apnea Solutions explores the difference between these types of sleep apnea.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is caused by a blockage of the air pathway. This usually occurs when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses, blocking the airway. Although it is a temporary occurrence, sufferers can, again, experience hundreds of bouts every night, often causing them to wake up more exhausted than when they went to bed the night before.

OSA is the most common form of sleep apnea. Anyone, even children, can suffer from OSA. However, increased risk factors for OSA include:

Ø  Excess weight
Ø  Thick neck circumference
Ø  A narrowed air passageway
Ø  Being male
Ø  Being older than 60 years old
Ø  Family history of sleep apnea
Ø  Race, especially blacks under the age of 35
Ø  Use of sedatives, tranquilizers or alcohol
Ø  Smoking
Ø  Nasal congestion

Central Sleep Apnea

Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain does not properly signal the muscles to breathe. Similar to OSA, anyone can suffer from central sleep apnea. However, increased risk factors for central sleep apnea include:

Ø  Being older than 65 years old, especially if other risk factors are present
Ø  Being male
Ø  Heart conditions, including congestive heart failure or atrial fibrillation
Ø  Brain tumor or stroke

What to Do If You Think You Have Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is extremely common and affects more than 18 million people in the United States, according to the National Sleep Foundation. If you are one of the tens of millions of individuals who suffer from sleep apnea, or if you think you might have the condition, contact us for assistance. We can help diagnose your disorder and offer appropriate treatment options, so you can finally get a good night’s sleep.

To schedule an appointment with an OSA expert, pleasecontact New Jersey Sleep Apnea Solutions by calling (855) 949-7667.