DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Central sleep apnea is a disorder in which your breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. Central sleep apnea occurs because your brain doesn't send proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing — unlike obstructive sleep apnea, in which you can't breathe normally because of upper airway obstruction. Central sleep apnea is less common, accounting for fewer than 5 percent of sleep apnea cases.
Central sleep apnea may occur as a result of other conditions, such as heart failure and stroke. Sleeping at a high altitude also may cause central sleep apnea.
Treatments for central sleep apnea may involve addressing predisposing conditions, using a device to assist breathing or using supplemental oxygen.
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