Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea. It is estimated to affect 10 percent of women and 30 percent of men in the United States but in many cases goes undiagnosed. There is a type of Sleep Apnea called Central Sleep Apnea Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax. These muscles support the soft palate, the triangular piece of tissue hanging from the soft palate (uvula), the tonsils, the side walls of the throat, and the tongue. When the muscles relax, your airway narrows or closes as you breathe in. You can’t get enough air, which can lower the oxygen level in your blood. Your brain senses your inability to breathe and briefly rouses you from sleep so that you can reopen your airway. This awakening is usually so brief that you don’t remember it. You might snort, choke, or gasp. This pattern can repeat itself five to 40 times or more each hour, all night, impairing your ability to reach the deep, restful phases of sleep Central sleep apnea is a disorder in which your breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. Central sleep apnea occurs because your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing.
This condition is different from obstructive sleep apnea, in which you can’t breathe normally because of upper airway obstruction. Central sleep apnea is less common than obstructive sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea can result from other conditions, such as heart failure and stroke. Another possible cause is sleeping at a high altitude.
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