What Is Central Sleep Apnea?
In central sleep apnea, your body stops breathing for prolonged periods, frequently at night. It isn’t like obstructive sleep apnea, where your airway collapses, cutting off your access to air. Instead, your body just stops breathing. Typically, this is because your brain stops sending the signals telling your body to breathe. The brain doesn’t resume sending these signals until it experiences the resulting oxygen shortage.
Repeated oxygen deprivation and fragmentary sleep account for the serious health effects that link central and obstructive sleep apnea.
It is possible to have both central and obstructive sleep apnea. Sometimes this is described as complex sleep apnea, especially if it does not respond to typical treatment.