often last for twenty seconds or more and can also have an
effect on the heart rate and blood oxygen. This problem can happen
repeatedly during the night and is not to be confused with a similar
type of disorder called obstructive
sleep apnea, which happens when the airway has become blocked.
Many of the causes of central sleep apnea, but not all, are associated
with someone who is already suffering from an existing medical
condition. Similar to obstructive sleep apnea, CSA is more common in
males and people over the age of 65.
Roughly 1 in
4 children experience some form of sleep apnea and those
who were born premature, or have congenital problems, can suffer from
CSA specifically. Most infants will eventually grow out of their
episodes but for some it has to be monitored on a regular
quite common for extremely premature babies to have this disorder as
the respiratory center in their brains has not yet fully matured and
developed properly. Children cannot always be given the same medication
as adults for this but if they are, it is monitored strictly with
resuscitation equipment readily available at all times.
There are a range of different medical conditions that can be causes of
central sleep apnea in adults. Diseases of and injuries to the brain
stem, and/or damage
to the cervical spine, can have a dramatic effect
on breathing, as it is the brain stem that controls and regulates
normal breathing functions. This usually only becomes a problem during
the night because a person is able to control and maintain their own
breathing pattern when awake.
heart failure can be linked with any form of apnea as a
result of a change in blood flow around the body. The only way of
curing CSA in someone who has had congestive heart failure is to treat
the existing heart problem, as the apnea is not likely to go away if
this problem still exists.
Kidney failure, or acute renal
failure, and generally
function can affect brain activities. New studies have
shown that it
could be a risk factor for cognitive deterioration in old age,
therefore this would mainly only happen to older adults.
has shown that this mainly relates to cognition with memory problems
but can also be detrimental to other parts of the brain, resulting in
the failure of signals being sent to the body.
may be one of the rarer causes of central sleep apnea but can
still be a reason a person is experiencing sleep loss of any
is a well known fact that sleep
apnea and weight loss are intertwined. Being overweight or
obese is detrimental to
overall general health and can play a big part in many medical
conditions. Excess fat puts a great amount of pressure on the body and,
in some circumstances, has been known to lead to issues with the
functions of the brain stem, which could then alter normal breathing
An experience that can also alter the brain stem functions is having a
cerebrovascular incident, also known commonly as a stroke. This happens
to the body when there is a sudden and rapid loss of brain function,
which has occurred as a result of a disturbance of the blood supply to
the blood it needs, the brain and most parts of the
body cease to function properly and this can cause the person having a
stroke to collapse. The long term effects on the body vary considerably
depending on the age and general health of the person. If brain control
does not return to normal then this may have a negative influence on
Both an underactive and
an overactive thyroid are associated with a
rise in blood pressure. Just like the heart, the brain relies on a
consistent blood supply to work properly and survive.
Health Related Causes of Central Sleep Apnea
Different forms of drugs
and medication can influence the brain stem's
ability to operate as normal. Recent research shows that the use of
pain relief can be linked to CSA. On a much larger scale,
this can be potentially fatal as it affects breathing and can lead to
opioid-induced respiratory depression.
high altitude is also thought to be one of the causes of
central sleep apnea. The change in oxygen levels at a higher altitude
can result in experiencing rapid, alternating breathing.
will usually only occur at a height of 15,000 feet and above where the
oxygen is much thinner in the air than our lungs have been accustomed
Although smoking does not directly cause CSA, it can make the disorder
worse for some people as inhaling smoke can inflame and
in the throat.
is very dangerous to overall health but is most
harmful to our lungs and has a negative effect on breathing. Having a
history of heavy smoking can affect sleep and this becomes more of a
problem in old age.
In conclusion, central sleep apnea is a disorder that cannot be avoided
by everyone as some of the problems that cause it can be untreatable or
hereditary. However, there are certain steps that can be taken to try
and prevent sleep deprivation.
Try to live a healthy lifestyle, eat sensibly, take
part in regular exercise
and maintain a healthy
weight for your gender, age, and height. If possible it is
advised to avoid alcohol, smoking and overuse of unnecessary medication.
to ensure your sleeping pattern is regular by improving your sleep
hygiene by going to bed at the same
time every day, having a full, solid sleep and making sure the bed you
are sleeping in is suitable and not disturbing your comfort during the