Forgetting to breathe

Forgetting to breathe? Central sleep apnea!

Central sleep apnea is a sleep disruption in which the individual is said to be forgetting to breathe or where you stop breathing momentarily during sleep. Apnea moments can repeatedly occur over the night as you sleep. The disruption of your breathing may mean a signalling issue for your brain. For a while, the brain “forgets” to instruct your muscles to move. There is a problem between the brain and the muscles responsible for breathing.

How can you be diagnosed with forgetting to breathe condition?

The doctor will prescribe a sleep study examination, also known as polysomnography, to detect core sleep apnea. The analysis happens overnight while you are asleep in a specialized sleep room. You’ll have to wear electrodes on body and head during polysomnography to monitor your oxygen levels, brain activity, breathing rhythm, pulse rate, and lung function.

Your GP, a neurologist, and, at times, a cardiologist will track you and check your polysomnography tests. The findings can aid in determining your apnea’s underlying cause.

An MRI exam on the brain or spinal cord may also help detect central sleep apnea. MRI utilizes radio waves to create images of your organs. The check can disclose structural abnormalities inside your brainstem or spine, causing central sleep apnea.

What causes you to be in a situation where you are forgetting to breathe?

Most cases of forgetting to breathe (central sleep apnea)result from underlying health conditions. Your brainstem isn’t asking your breathing muscles to function correctly, so it is said that you forget to breathe.

Your brain stem is your brain section, which connects to your spinal cord. Medical conditions that influence your brainstem, spinal cord, or heart can trigger central sleep apnea to grow.

Examples of conditions that influence your brain stem include:
• congestive heart failure
• heart attack
• inflammation in the brain
• stroke
• cervical spine arthritis
• Surgery in the spine
• Parkinson’s disorder

Some drugs may also cause some central sleep apnea (i.e., you forgetting to breathe) called medication-induced apnea. Opioid drugs are potent painkillers that can contribute to abnormal cycles of breathing. In some situations, as part of that irregular pattern, you may stop breathing temporarily.

Drugs which may lead to apnea for central sleep include:
• oxycodone
• morphine
• codeine
If the doctor can’t identify why your brain is forgetting to breathe, then you have idiopathic central sleep apnea.

Symptoms of central sleep apnea
The widespread symptom of central sleep apnea is those short periods during sleep when the breathing ceases. Some people exhibit very shallow respiration rather than halting breathing directly. You might be waking up feeling short of breath. The lack of oxygen will frequently cause you to wake up throughout the night and can contribute to insomnia.

During the day, you may be feeling exhausted, having trouble thinking or working on activities, or getting a headache when you wake up.
Additional symptoms for central sleep apnea may be triggered by Parkinson’s disease or other neurological conditions, including:

  • Voice changes
  • Speech pattern changes
  • Swallowing becomes difficult
  • General body weakness

Treatment for your brain forgetting to breathe
The first line of treatment for forgetting to breathe is treating the underlying medical conditions. Medicines may help control congestive heart failure, Parkinson’s disease, and other disorders in the heart or nervous system.
If these drugs cause the breathing to cease during the night, you may need to avoid taking opioid medications.
For many patients with central sleep apnea, oxygen intake, and the control of air pressure during sleep are effective treatments.
Oxygen treatments such as

Adaptive Servo-Ventilation (ASV)
ASV keeps track of your breathing as you sleep. The computerized system “remembers” the rhythm of your breathing pattern. A pressurized device controls the rhythm of respiration to eliminate episodes of apnea.

Bi-level Positive Air Pressure (BPAP)
The method changes the air pressure as you inhale to a higher level and a lower level as you exhale. BPAP uses a face mask, too.

Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP)
CPAP provides the airways with a steady source of pressure as you sleep. You are to wear a mask over your mouth and nose, which delivers night-wide pressurized air. CPAP treats obstructive sleep apnea but can be of benefit to people with central sleep apnea as well. We featured a press on CPAP devices: Check out the review for HVN SLEEP POD and SLEEP CONNECTION and make your best choice of selection.

In conclusion,
Persons with central idiopathic sleep apnea react well to medication. The overall benefits of central-sleep apnea therapy differ depending on the exact trigger of the disorder.


How is central sleep apnea diagnosed?
Polysomnography is used to detect core sleep apnea.

What drugs can cause you to forget to breathe?
Drugs which may lead to apnea for central sleep include:
• oxycodone
• morphine
• codeine

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