Understanding the Three Types of Sleep Apnea

Understanding the Three Types of Sleep Apnea

Many people don’t realize that there are multiple types of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is when a person experiences periods of time without breathing while sleeping. This is dangerous as it promotes multiple health issues and can even cause death in serious cases. When a person with this sleeping disorder stops breathing, their body is awoken to engage in breathing again. This is cause for the decrease in helpful amount of sleep and brings about the medical issues that are seen in those with sleep apnea.


Obstructive (OSA)

This is the most common form of sleep apnea, affecting 6% of all Americans. Although there is such a high number of those affected by obstructive sleep apnea, only 1 out of 10 will seek treatment for their disorder. This type of sleep disorder is caused by the relaxation of the throat muscles and tongue. These relaxed muscles block the airways and prevent blood flow to the brain causing the body to signal to breathe again. This new breath often comes as a loud gasp or snort before the cycle continues. How often this happens in a night determines how severe the OSA is.

Severities of OSA:

Mild– 5 to 14 breathing interferences within one hour.

Moderate– 15-30 breathing interferences within one hour.

Severe– More than 30 breathing interferences within one hour.

Central (CSA)

CSA is a sleep disorder in which a person experiences interferences in breathing during sleep because the brain does not send the signals to the muscles that control breathing. This differs from OSA in that the problem does not originate from a physical blockage but rather a physiological mishap. This type of sleep disorder is much rarer than obstructive sleep apnea. It is believed that only 2 out of 10 apnea patients have central sleep apnea. Causes for CSA derive from damage or conditions that affect the brain stem.

Mixed or Complex

This sleep disorder is when both central and obstructive apnea is evident in a patient. This usually is identified when a patient is diagnosed with OSA and given treatment by means of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. Before long, these patients develop central sleep apnea and their brain no longer sends proper messages to the muscles that control breathing. Although the cause of the phenomenon is unknown, it has been found that 15% of patients diagnosed with OSA developed mixed sleep apnea.

Diagnosing Sleep Disorders with at Home Sleep Test from ION My Sleep

If you think that you suffer from any of these sleeping disorders, treatment is available. To start discovering treatment options, diagnosis is necessary. ION My Sleep has developed an easy, affordable, and effective method in diagnosing sleep apnea. The at-home sleep test determines whether a person has sleep apnea in just one night. If you are interested in learning more about the at-home sleep study, visit our web page or call us at 800-355-0540.