Posted by: Alan | 2009-03-31

Central Sleep Apnea

Hi Dr. Bets.
I had an earlier posting about my Central Sleep Apnea. I do not have Obstructive Sleep Apnea, but Central Sleep Apnea whereby I understand that the message from the brain telling me to breathe gets lost. My question regarding my Bipap machine is how does it help, other than by waking me up with it' s alarm 20-40 times per night when I stop breathing? I was told by the sleep clinic that you HAVE TO WAKE UP, in order to start breathing again. Does this mean that my Bipap is basically just a monitor in my case, to wake me up when I stop breqating. Also, apparently the profile of people with Central Sleep Apnea is that they are very overweight, caused by some hormones not being released into the system, because deep levels of sleep are never reached. Is this true, and if so, please elaborate.
Thanks very much.

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Our expert says:
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Dear Alan
I am definitely not an apnoea expert, but it seems as if with Bipap the inspiratory positive airway pressure (IPAP) is higher than the expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP). The degree of IPAP-to-EPAP difference provides pressure support to assist with breathing. It sounds as if your machine also wakes you up when you stop breathing, so I think it is probably more than just a monitor. I also found the following that may be interesting for you:
Patients with high-pressure requirements may benefit by elevation of the head end to 45-60°, which dramatically decreases their pressure requirements.
Several different treatments may help i.e. acetazolamide (Diamox), sedative-hypnotics (Zolpidem), Theophylline.
Have you seen a pulmonologist?
Dr Bets

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