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Central Sleep Apnea & Anxiety

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CanadianVodka +0 points · over 2 years ago Original Poster


I am brand new to this forum, 45 years old, and trying to figure out solutions to my sleep apnea.

Eight years ago I was diagnosed but never followed up on treatment until this year as I have two relatives diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis and want to reduce any risks to my cardio system.

A free trial with a CPAP machine this past month helped very little. I have always had a lifestyle of healthy diet, exercise, and sports.

I find myself even during the day "forgetting" to breath after exhaling. Two or three times I wake up in the middle of the night with racing heart and exhalation without inhalation. There is no obstruction in the back of my throat. This must be "central" sleep apnea.

I have had generalized anxiety in years past, but not really any symptoms in recent years with meditation and working on mindset.

But I do feel my chest constrict with this, both at night and a little in the day, and breathing gets a little harder. I strongly sense this is anxiety related.

Has anyone else on this forum felt that their sleep apnea was caused to a large extent by generalized anxiety? That is, a certain tension or chest tightness and so on? The respiratory therapist who loaned me the CPAP didn't know anything about this, but I am sure this is a major cause and possibly a solution.

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Sierra +0 points · over 2 years ago Sleep Patron

I have not heard of anxiety causing central sleep apnea. However, it is a condition that is not fully understood. Here is a Mayo Clinic link that gives some potential causes.

Central Sleep Apnea - Symptoms and Causes

Often sleep apnea is a combination of more common obstructive apnea and central apnea. Some call this complex apnea. Here is an article from the Blog portion of this site that discusses it.

What is Complex Sleep Apnea?

The starting point to try and figure out what is going on is to look at a nightly report from a CPAP machine. A sleep clinic can do this or your can look at it yourself with some free software available. Here is an example of what my sleep report looked like a couple of nights ago. My total AHI (2.72) is a mixture of CA (1.11), OA (0.37), and Hypopnea (1.24) events. Knowing what type of events you are getting and when they happen can be very useful in determining what your specific issues are.

Hope that helps some,

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