As the name suggests, sleep apnea describes the cessation of your breathing (apnea is a Greek word meaning “to stop breathing”). Depending on the exact nature of your affliction, this can occur in a number of different ways. Today, we explore the two types of sleep apnea—obstructive and central—and how the significant impacts they can have on your breathing at night.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is the disorder’s most common form, and involves an airway blockage that often results from abnormal oral tissues. When you sleep, these tissues (such as your tonsils, your uvula, and the base of your tongue, among others) can collapse into your airway, causing your breath to force its way through an increasingly smaller space. The shrinking airway causes increasingly loud snoring, and then silence as your air is completely obstructed.
Central Sleep Apnea
Although central sleep apnea also describes periodic pauses in breathing while you sleep, the cause is entirely different than that of obstructive sleep apnea. The less-common form occurs when your brain fails to send your chest and diaphragm muscles the necessary signals to breath. Like OSA, patients with central sleep apnea are forced to wake slightly and start breathing again. Since apnic episodes can recur hundreds of times a night, they prevent your mind and body from entering the deep sleep they need to rejuvenate, leading to sleep deprivation and increased risks for serious health issues.
Ask the Experts About Your Sleep Apnea
If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, then our sleep experts can help you rest better with an appropriate treatment plan. To schedule a consultation, call Houston Sleep Solutions in Spring, TX, at (281) 320-2000, or in Pearland, TX, at (832) 564-3508.