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Central Sleep Apnea & Anxiety

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CanadianVodka +0 points · almost 4 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 · almost 4 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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aslamkhan +0 points · about 1 year ago

Hey there!It's been a long time but it's interesting to explore the connection between central sleep apnea and anxiety.

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bondlillian +0 points · about 1 year ago

Taking care of our sleep health is crucial, and it's great to see discussions shedding light on this topic. If anyone ever experiences anxiety or panic attacks related to sleep apnea or any other situation, remember that there are anxiety attack hotlines available for immediate support. It's important to reach out and seek help when needed. Take care of yourselves, and here's to better sleep and reduced anxiety for all!

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Biguglygremlin +0 points · about 1 year ago Sleep Enthusiast

I like to hijack a thread from time to time, and I know this one was aimed in the opposite direction, but it touches on an area that I have been thinking about for a while now.

Anxiety and stress are basic ingredients of life, and they enable us to survive and function as a society, but we have made our world so complicated that doubts and uncertainty often amplify the anxiety.

I've seen comments within this forum to the effect that the only way to compel people to comply with the sleep industry is by using fear, and that seems to be a very effective strategy.

Fear of damaging or losing your relationship because of snoring.

Fear of personal failure through confusion and fatigue.

Fear of losing your license because of noncompliance.

Fear of losing your job because of incompetence.

Fear of losing your health benefits through noncompliance.

Fear of dying from a whole list of nasty diseases because you aren't using a CPAP.

Fear is the basis of anxiety and essentially the entire sleep industry aims to instill fear and cultivate anxiety in order to control (Oops I meant help) as many people as possible, so it's hardly surprising that there seems to be a connection between anxiety and CPAP users.

People participate in this forum for a variety of reasons, some, like myself, are here because they like twisting words and logic, some, because they are driven to solve puzzles and find answers, but many are here looking for assurances to help them manage their anxieties.

Anxiety and stress are basic ingredients of life, in the right proportions they are essential to everything we do.

Please be advised that these posts may contain sensitive material or unsolicited medical advice. MyApnea does not endorse the content of these posts. The information provided on this site is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for advice from a health care professional who has evaluated you.