Complex Sleep Apnea
... a complex health risk

Complex sleep apnea (CompSA), sometimes called treatment-emergent central sleep apnea and also known as mixed sleep apnea, is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea; a real complex health issue.

Having just one of the main two types of sleep apnea is a serious health matter. However, having both types of sleep apnea, at the same time, is an even greater health risk.

Complex Sleep Apnea Symptoms ... Difficult  to Recognize


CompSA is the newest defined type of sleep apnea. This is also the worse type of sleep apnea. With complex sleep apnea, you are not only suffering from an obstruction while breathing, your brain is not telling your body to breathe. Due to this, it is very difficult for you to benefit from all the various stages of sleep necessary for a good night's sleep.

Central sleep apnea symptoms are even harder to recognize than those of obstructive sleep apnea. This is due to the fact that obstructive apnea symptoms show more physical signs, whereas central apnea symptoms are more insidious, as they are neurologically based.

It is still uncertain why some people suffer from complex sleep apnea. Older research believes it was because they may have had obstructive sleep apnea for a longer period of time before getting diagnosed and treated. Therefore, their bodies have suffered more from the lack of sleep, causing serious health issues, triggering the added complication of central sleep apnea.

Complex Sleep Apnea Risk Factors:
(Central and Obstructive Sleep Apnea Combined)

More common with:

  • Men
  • Older adults 65+ years
  • Heart disorders (ex. atrial fibrillation or congestive heart failure)
  • Sleep disordered breathing
  • Stroke or brain tumor
  • Patients with severe OSA
  • Patients with a mixture of obstructive and central apneas during initial polysomnography

Association with:

  • Non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM)
  • Use of higher levels of CPAP (over-titration)
  • High altitude
  • Oral breathing
  • Opioid narcotics
  • Sleeping in a supine position

In most cases of complex/mixed sleep apnea, it often starts with obstructive sleep apnea. If you follow the recommended treatment plan, generally your apnea episodes should be controlled. However, if you do continue to have apnea episodes, adjustments to your treatment plan should be made.

When apnea episodes 'appear' to be controlled, another sleep laboratory study (polysomnogram) is usually recommended. Having your sleeping patterns closely monitored by a qualified technician, while using your revised obstructive sleep apnea treatment takes the guesswork out of whether or not the new treatment plan is working.

If you are still experiencing apnea episodes, the sleep technician will monitor for other possible reasons for your persistent and dangerous stop-breathing symptoms.

Closer observation will determine if you're struggling to breathe, not because of the 'obstruction', but because you have just stopped breathing, intermittently -- a symptom of central sleep apnea.

It might seem you have to go through a lot of testing and experimenting with treatments to find out if you are suffering from mixed sleep apnea. Well I can assure you, it is well worth the effort. Having sleep apnea (especially this combined form) and not getting help will be a downward spiral for your future health.

Get Immediate Help for This Grave Disease!

Obstructive sleep apnea on its own is a grave illness and needs to be treated without delay. However, the combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea makes it even more dyer that you get solutions for controlling CompSA (Complex).

Take an active role in looking after your health. Do your research and educate yourself on all symptoms, sleep study results and potential treatments. If you are currently being treated for obstructive sleep apnea and still do not feel fully refreshed when you wake or are experiencing daytime sleepiness, don't delay in getting medical help.

Do you have serious health issues such as a heart condition, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.? If so, this is another reason to seek immediate medical help. If you have noticed, or if your sleep partner has mention your sleep apnea signs or symptoms, be sure to tell your doctor. This will help speed the process in getting the right treatment for you.

Stop your downward health spiral that untreated sleep apnea has been shown to cause. Your efforts will be greatly rewarded with improved health, vitality and longevity.

Read more here: Mayo Clinic Discovers New Type Of Sleep Apnea

Return to Information on Sleep Apnea from Complex Sleep Apnea

Read more about: Other Types of Sleep Apnea here

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