Snoring is often associated with some degree of airway obstruction, but it can also be heard in cases of central sleep apnea. This means that children with sleep apnea may still have hope that their condition can be treated and resolved. People with this condition may experience difficulty concentrating and falling asleep while at work, watching TV, or even driving. Research has been conducted to investigate the effect of topical corticosteroids on allergic airway inflammation and disease severity in obstructive sleep apnea.
Weight loss can have a positive impact on this risk, particularly if sleeping on one's back can be avoided. However, snoring may not be as prominent with central sleep apnea as it is with obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat become too relaxed to allow for normal breathing. Treatments for central sleep apnea may include treating existing conditions, using a device to aid breathing, or using supplemental oxygen.
Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by the muscles that support the soft tissues of the throat, such as the tongue and soft palate, temporarily relaxing. Central sleep apnea is caused by the brain not sending the right signals to the muscles that control breathing. Many people with obstructive sleep apnea develop high blood pressure (hypertension), which can increase their risk of heart disease. Excessive daytime sleepiness can also be caused by other disorders, such as not allowing enough time to get enough sleep at night (chronic sleep deprivation), sudden sleep attacks (narcolepsy), or obstructive sleep apnea.
Central sleep apnea can be caused by a number of conditions that affect the ability of the brain stem, which connects the brain to the spinal cord and controls many functions such as heart rate and breathing, to control breathing. Additionally, women who pass menopause during which the protective effect of progesterone and estrogen is lost may experience a gradual worsening of sleep apnea with age, although they have a lower risk of developing the condition than men in general. People with obstructive sleep apnea have been found to be at greater risk of developing a severe form of COVID-19 and needing hospital treatment than those without obstructive sleep apnea. The good news is that there is hope for those suffering from sleep apnea.
While it may not always go away on its own, there are treatments available that can help reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. Weight loss is one of the most effective treatments for both central and obstructive sleep apnea. Losing weight can help reduce airway obstruction and improve breathing during sleep. Additionally, avoiding sleeping on one's back can help reduce snoring and improve airflow during sleep.
Other treatments include using a device to aid breathing or using supplemental oxygen. In some cases, medications may be prescribed to help reduce symptoms.