Sleep Apnea Center

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder involving poor breathing habits, such as snoring and troubled breathing. There are three types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form. It involves relaxation of throat muscles that make it hard to breath.
  • Central sleep apnea. It occurs when the brain does not properly communicate with muscles that facilitate breathing.
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome. This is a special case whereby a person suffers from both the central sleep apnea and the obstructive sleep apnea.


Obstructive and central sleep apneas share many signs and symptoms that it becomes hard to determine which type of sleep apnea a person may be suffering from. Common symptoms of the two sleep apneas include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Episodes of breathing lapses during sleep
  • Waking up with a dry mouth and sore throat
  • Headaches in the morning
  • Insomnia (difficulty staying asleep)
  • Hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness during the day)
  • Irritability
  • Short attention spans

Causes of obstructive sleep apnea

It occurs when muscles relax at the back of the throat. As the muscles relax, the air passages close making it hard to breathe in. The brain notices this and rouses the body from sleep so that the air passages can be reopened. This process takes a few seconds and the person may not remember. The person makes gasping, choking or snorting sound to allow air into the lungs. This process repeats itself throughout the night and these disruptions impair the ability to reach the desired sleep.

Causes of central sleep apnea

This is a rare form of sleep apnea. It occurs when the brain fails to properly communicate with breathing muscles. A person experiencing central sleep apnea will wake up with shortness of breath and may have a difficult time staying asleep or going back to sleep.

Risk Factors

Sleep apnea affects everyone including children. However, these factors increase the risk of sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea

  • Being overweight
  • Having thicker necks and narrow airways
  • Narrow airways caused by tonsils and adenoids
  • Males are twice likely to get sleep apnea than women
  • Being older
  • Alcoholism and smoking

Central sleep apnea

  • Being older
  • People with Stroke are more likely to develop this disorder
  • Heart disorders