It can sometimes be tempting to lump all types of sleep apnea together as part of the same generic condition, but in reality, there are distinct differences between central and obstructive sleep apnea. While CPAP therapy can help address both types of breathing problems, it is crucial that patients (and their doctors) understand the difference between these sleep apnea events and use equipment that will account for both.
If you don’t have the right type of equipment for your specific condition, your treatment will likely prove ineffective in the long run. In some instances, the wrong CPAP device could actually make your sleep apnea worse.
The Resmed AirSense 10 Autoset is one of the best products on the market today for identifying and addressing nighttime breathing problems caused by both obstructive and central sleep apnea. Here is a closer look at how these conditions differ, how they impact your health, and how the Resmed AirSense 10 Autoset will help you breathe easy.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
It is estimated that over 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, with the vast majority of these cases being the result of obstructive sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea is the result of a blockage of the upper respiratory tract while you are sleeping. Most often, this occurs when the throat muscles relax during the night. As the muscles relax, the airway is temporarily closed off, which can cause periods of inadequate breathing or even cause breathing to temporarily stop. Milder versions of obstructive sleep apnea will cause snoring; more severe cases will cause the individual to wake up gasping for breath due to a buildup of carbon dioxide in their system.
Though obstructive sleep apnea is generally considered to be more common as you age (as well as being more common for men and those of African-American or Hispanic descent), there are several other factors that can increase one’s risk for developing this condition.
Among the biggest risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea are being overweight, having a large neck or recessed chin, and having large tonsils. Such physical attributes can increase constriction on the body’s airways while laying down, which will make episodes of obstructive sleep apnea more likely to occur.
Your lifestyle can also play a role. Those who consume alcohol or sedative drugs are often at a greater risk of obstructive sleep apnea because of the way these substances relax the muscles. Those with high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, or a family history of sleep apnea are also more likely to develop the condition.
Perhaps one of the most problematic aspects of obstructive sleep apnea is that it isn’t always easily identifiable by those suffering from the condition. Even though episodes of obstructive sleep apnea can occur up to 30 times in a single hour, the periods when a person wakes up due to obstructed breathing often aren’t remembered the next day because of how quickly these events pass.
Instead, those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea must often rely on a spouse or daytime symptoms to determine if they have the condition. For example, if your partner notices that you wake up choking or gasping during the night, or if you snore so loudly that you disturb their sleep, you likely have obstructive sleep apnea.
Other symptoms require that you examine your own personal well-being. Common daytime signs that you are experiencing bouts of obstructive sleep apnea include excessive fatigue, trouble concentrating, and experiencing headaches or a dry mouth in the morning. Those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea may also experience nighttime sweating or even a decreased libido.
Central Sleep Apnea
Though central sleep apnea is less common than its obstructive counterpart, it is still relatively common, accounting for roughly 20 percent of all sleep apnea cases. As such, it is certainly worth understanding for those who have been experiencing trouble sleeping.
Instead of being caused by an airway obstruction, central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to send the proper signals to the muscles that control your body’s breathing. In other words, the brain essentially forgets that your body needs to breathe until a lack of oxygen triggers the breathing process again.
Central sleep apnea has a wide range of potential causes, though it is most often the result of another underlying medical condition. Those who have experienced stroke or congestive heart failure often develop a condition known as Cheyne-Stokes breathing. This weakened breathing condition will typically lead to central sleep apnea episodes.
Other medical conditions that can cause central sleep apnea include spinal arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, encephalitis, and spinal surgeries. The opioids that are used to alleviate pain following a surgery or other medical treatments can also contribute to irregular breathing patterns or a temporary stoppage of breathing.
With the aforementioned medical conditions often playing the biggest role in episodes of central sleep apnea, it should not come as much of a surprise that this type of sleeping disorder is most common in individuals over the age of 65. As conditions affecting the heart and brain develop, the risk for central sleep apnea increases.
Of course, this isn’t to say that these are the only reasons why someone might experience central sleep apnea. Interestingly, those who travel to altitudes significantly higher than what they are used to will often experience episodes of central sleep apnea, which disappear upon returning to “normal” elevations. As with obstructive sleep apnea, men are more likely than women to experience central sleep apnea.
Many of the early symptoms of central sleep apnea are similar to those of obstructive sleep apnea, such as your partner observing you waking up with shortness of breath during the night or brief stoppages of breathing during sleep. Those who suffer from central sleep apnea will also experience daytime fatigue as well as mood changes and headaches.
Other symptoms associated with central sleep apnea include nighttime chest pain, insomnia, and shortness of breath that occurs while laying down and feels better when you sit up. Insomnia may sometimes be more noticeable to the individual struggling with central sleep apnea, though snoring is typically far less prominent than it is with obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea Complications
Though fatigue may not seem like a serious problem in and of itself, the long-term complications of both obstructive and central sleep apnea can be significant. Both types of sleep apnea can increase the risk for serious heart conditions such as heart attack, arrhythmias, stroke, and coronary artery disease. By repeatedly lowering blood oxygen levels, sleep apnea could easily result in a cardiac arrest that leads to death.
As the Mayo Clinic notes, obstructive sleep apnea has also been found to create complications when patients need to use a sedative medication for a surgery or other medical treatment. Many medications can actually make sleep apnea symptoms worse, and those with obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to have complications as they recover from surgery. Many of the underlying conditions that can contribute to sleep apnea, such as diabetes or excessive weight, can themselves be worsened by trouble sleeping.
There are also the dangers of fatigue itself. Excessive drowsiness could cause you to fall asleep while driving, resulting in a deadly auto accident. An inability to concentrate could result in poor performance at school or work. Increased irritability may lead to tension in your relationships.
In fact, studies have found that over half of all people who experience obstructive sleep apnea also suffer from anxiety, while over 46 percent also experience depression as an outcome of their sleep struggles. These mental health issues can create a vicious cycle that further disrupts normal sleep patterns.
Sleeping poorly for a single night may not have significant long-term consequences. But if you struggle to sleep soundly night after night, your physical, mental, and emotional well-being could take a serious blow. If you or your partner have noticed symptoms of sleep apnea, contact a medical professional as soon as possible so you can receive a legitimate diagnosis and start planning for treatment.
How CPAP Treatment Helps
CPAP treatment is designed to alleviate breathing troubles by providing a continuous flow of air pressure to the lungs. Alternatively, some patients perform better with BPAP systems, which adjust air pressure when you inhale or exhale.
Regardless of which type of equipment you use, the end goal is the same: ensuring that your lungs get the right amount of air throughout the night so you can rest soundly and avoid sleep apnea episodes. A steady supply of air will keep the throat from constricting while also ensuring that air is still delivered to the lungs should the brain fail to send the proper signals.
There is just one problem. Sometimes, individuals who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea will develop a variation of central sleep apnea as a result of their CPAP therapy. Though this condition, known as complex sleep apnea, will often go away on its own, it can complicate treatment by causing a person to experience both obstructive and central sleep apnea during the night.
Because the causes of these two types of sleep apnea are different, the air pressure delivery will also need to vary. If you have a system that is only designed to address obstructive sleep apnea, your treatment won’t be nearly as effective as it should be.
Why the Resmed AirSense 10 Autoset?
There is no denying that those experiencing obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea have differing treatment needs. Thankfully, this is where the Resmed AirSense 10 Autoset makes a difference.
This auto-adjusting CPAP therapy device uses advanced algorithms to detect and even anticipate different types of sleep apnea events. The system’s ability to differentiate between the various types of sleep apnea and respond accordingly ensures that patients will always receive the right level of air pressure to address their condition. When unusual breathing or a sleep apnea event is detected, pressure increases automatically to prevent a stoppage in breathing.
Regardless of whether you are experiencing obstructive, central, or complex sleep apnea, the system’s dynamic approach will help you enjoy better sleep outcomes. The Resmed AirSense 10 Autoset device can even detect Cheyne-Stokes respiration, allowing it to fully anticipate and circumvent sleep apnea events.
Resmed has also accounted for the differences in the way men and women experience sleep apnea with the specially designed Resmed AirSense 10 Autoset for Her, which is designed to address the special treatment needs of women with sleep apnea.
The Resmed AirSense 10 Autoset is all about giving patients the ability to control their treatment for maximum levels of comfort without sacrificing quality of care. For example, the system’s AutoRamp feature allows the device to gradually build up pressure to the prescribed level. This makes it easier for individuals to fall asleep when they would otherwise feel uncomfortable with the prescribed pressure.
This setting can be further adjusted based on your needs, as the device’s RampTime can be increased or turned off depending on whether you feel uncomfortable or think you aren’t getting enough air.
Starting your treatment is as easy as pressing the Start button—or even just breathing into your mask, thanks to Resmed’s SmartStart tech. During the night, the Resmed AirSense 10 Autoset’s algorithms will continually monitor your breathing, adjusting the pressure as needed. This allows the device to provide the lowest needed therapy pressure at any given moment to enhance comfort without compromising the quality of care.
Additional Features of the Resmed AirSense 10 Autoset
There is no denying the impact that a predictive algorithm which addresses both obstructive and central sleep apnea can have on treatment outcomes. But this isn’t the only advantage that the Resmed AirSense 10 Autoset has to offer.
Connectivity is built into this device from the ground up, giving patients and their healthcare providers full access to therapy data. Doctors can access the therapy device remotely, allowing for more efficient treatment. This even enables doctors to change settings or help their patient troubleshoot the device remotely if needed.
Making things easier for patients is also a key element found throughout the device’s design. In addition to easy start features, attributes like a built-in humidifier unit make daily use and maintenance that much simpler. The Resmed AirSense 10 Autoset also uses an Easy-Breathe motor that produces less noise than other CPAP devices, making it easier for users and their partners to fall asleep.
The system’s interface is also quite easy to use, with a color LCD screen that automatically adjusts its brightness based on the room’s ambient lighting. Menus are easy to navigate, allowing users to adjust humidity levels for enhanced comfort or set up an AutoRamp sequence without needing to comb through a user manual. A mask fit check makes it easy to detect air leaks.
Cleaning is also simplified. Resmed recommends cleaning the AirSense 10 Autoset on a weekly basis, requiring only a mix of warm water and mild detergent to clean the tubing and water tub. Replacing the air filter every six months and replacing the water tub and air tubing when cracks or holes appear will ensure the continued effectiveness of your treatment. With this relatively straightforward care process, adapting to a CPAP device will not require as big of an alteration to your daily routine as you might expect.
Another great feature of the Resmed AirSense 10 Autoset is that it is compliant with FAA regulations. This way, you don’t have to worry about leaving your treatment device behind when you go on vacation. The device actually comes with an Airplane Mode that allows you to use it during air travel (however, the water tub should be empty during such instances).
Regardless of whether you have experienced obstructive or central sleep apnea, the Resmed AirSense 10 Autoset is a reliable choice that will help you manage your conditions and enjoy higher quality sleep.
By pairing a quality CPAP device with other general health improvements, you will be able to improve sleep and avoid keeping your partner awake with snoring. Common lifestyle recommendations such as losing weight, stopping the consumption of alcohol or certain medications, and taking additional steps to manage underlying conditions like heart disease will maximize the effectiveness of CPAP therapy.
These treatments should always be supervised by your doctor, who will likely wish to continue monitoring your progress to ensure that you are improving. Most importantly, your doctor will be best suited to determine which CPAP devices will have the greatest impact on your overall sleep quality.
Here at No Insurance Medical Supplies, we will help you take control of your sleep with our wide array of quality CPAP devices. Whether you need to purchase a brand new Resmed AirSense 10 Autoset bundle package or simply need replacement filters or tubing, we offer equipment at affordable prices so you can get the treatment you need.
Remember, controlling sleep apnea is about much more than getting a full night’s rest. By better managing this condition, you will be able to avoid a wide range of physical and emotional health complications so you can enjoy a higher quality of life. Sleep is one of the most important parts of maintaining your health — so it is well worth the investment.