Can central sleep apnea cause daytime breathlessness?

My cardiologist recommended an at-home sleep study device that the clinic will mail to me, I will wear it for a night as it records whatever it records (mostly oxygen and heart rate I think), and send it back.

We are doing other tests for heart health but they are scheduled later.
While I wait I wanted to know if my symptoms match other people's experience of central/nonobstructive sleep apnea. Severe fatigue that has gotten progressively worse over the past 15 or so years, though some days are better than others. I slept in today (9 hrs) hoping that I would feel more energetic today but instead I feel more tired and unusually short of breath even doing simple things like laundry and dishes. I try not to overdo it because of the fatigue but I do light to moderate exercise regularly. I feel like my chest is tired, like the tiredness is in my chest. It's hard to explain. Sometimes a lot of rest helps, sometimes it doesn't. I took a nap the other day which is very unusual for me, but it actually made me feel a little bit better. I did not get enough sleep the night before.

I feel short of breath, dizzy, nauseous and extremely fatigued when I exercise too hard (hence the heart test coming up next month). But the unusual breathlessness doing every day things really makes me anxious and happens every once in a while. Can that be related to sleep apnea or having more apneic episodes in one night?

I wake up many times a night and have for years, with more awakenings as the morning gets closer, but I don't feel breathless when I wake up, I usually just turn over. For the most part my sleep is consistent. I get around 8-9 hours of sleep a night, go to bed around the same time (1-2am) and wake up around the same time (10am).

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Sleep Health Support Group.

I replied similarly to another thread launched maybe three/four weeks ago, but I'll try to help:
COPD, failing or occluded/calcified aortal valve, mad mitral valve...these are all possibilities that can make the heart inefficient to the point where you realize you've really lost a lot of ground with your physical capacity for 'work'. There are other possibilities, but I wanted to give you a hint of how many ways the heart can be all but fully prevented from oxygenating your organs, your skeletal muscles, and......itself.

Sleep disruption is one deleterious effect of sleep apnea...doesn't matter the kind. But, will poor oxygenation of the body, you go into hypoxia or acidosis, or hypercapnia....all of them, really. Your body will want to go into the fight-or-flight response which is an arousal response. Who could sleep under that process?!?!?

If your sleep is disrupted often, and you don't or seldom get to the REM stage where you dream and get really good rebuilding going on, you should expect to have brain fog during the day, want to fall asleep as soon as you sit, be irritable, make cognitive errors, perception errors, and so on. You say you 'slept' 9 hours. Did you really sleep, or was that just a total of nine hours that you didn't realize had passed, but you were tossing and turning, awakening just long enough to start breathing again, and generally were not really resting? I have had long nights when I felt I had slept well, only to look at my Galaxy watch's report and see that I had a lot of awake time, or light sleep and not the deeper more restful sleep. The total was great, but the quality sucked.

A CPAP machine, of the correct type (they vary in what they are meant to treat by virtue of the software loaded into them and the algorithm they use to be a contemporary assistance with each and every breath you take), with the correct settings for the correct treatment, based on a correct diagnosis (this can be tricky even for the experts to get right), and with the best mask for your face and the way you sleep, properly fitted.....you can see that there's a ton to get right, or you'll not be treated properly. But if we get all those things in a row, nice 'n tidy, you'll begin to get better rest. Don't be dismayed to find no miracle benefits right away. Your body and brain are somewhat messed up after your history, and it might take a full year before you're comfortable with the setup and beginning to feel right again. Also, don't be disappointed to find that you need monitoring and some adjustment to the settings, usually remotely by a qualified RT (respiratory therapist) for the first few months. As you get better rest, the WAY YOU SLEEP may change, you may lose weight, you may gain weight, you may develop complex apnea and need different treatment....see what I mean? This is a learning AND and adaptive process for the next year, maybe less if you're lucky. Finally, discard a mask that just doesn't work for you after a few tough nights giving it a reasonable effort. Try other masks. Learn what works for you.

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Yes, sleep apnea can cause you to be short of breath during the day. I thought I was getting a good night’s sleep but my sleep test showed I stopped breathing hundreds of times during the 6 hour test. A good CPAP will allow you to have truly restorative sleep and healing. You will be amazed at the positive changes to your health. Be patient and give it time to undo previous damage. Best of luck on your test.

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@gloaming

I replied similarly to another thread launched maybe three/four weeks ago, but I'll try to help:
COPD, failing or occluded/calcified aortal valve, mad mitral valve...these are all possibilities that can make the heart inefficient to the point where you realize you've really lost a lot of ground with your physical capacity for 'work'. There are other possibilities, but I wanted to give you a hint of how many ways the heart can be all but fully prevented from oxygenating your organs, your skeletal muscles, and......itself.

Sleep disruption is one deleterious effect of sleep apnea...doesn't matter the kind. But, will poor oxygenation of the body, you go into hypoxia or acidosis, or hypercapnia....all of them, really. Your body will want to go into the fight-or-flight response which is an arousal response. Who could sleep under that process?!?!?

If your sleep is disrupted often, and you don't or seldom get to the REM stage where you dream and get really good rebuilding going on, you should expect to have brain fog during the day, want to fall asleep as soon as you sit, be irritable, make cognitive errors, perception errors, and so on. You say you 'slept' 9 hours. Did you really sleep, or was that just a total of nine hours that you didn't realize had passed, but you were tossing and turning, awakening just long enough to start breathing again, and generally were not really resting? I have had long nights when I felt I had slept well, only to look at my Galaxy watch's report and see that I had a lot of awake time, or light sleep and not the deeper more restful sleep. The total was great, but the quality sucked.

A CPAP machine, of the correct type (they vary in what they are meant to treat by virtue of the software loaded into them and the algorithm they use to be a contemporary assistance with each and every breath you take), with the correct settings for the correct treatment, based on a correct diagnosis (this can be tricky even for the experts to get right), and with the best mask for your face and the way you sleep, properly fitted.....you can see that there's a ton to get right, or you'll not be treated properly. But if we get all those things in a row, nice 'n tidy, you'll begin to get better rest. Don't be dismayed to find no miracle benefits right away. Your body and brain are somewhat messed up after your history, and it might take a full year before you're comfortable with the setup and beginning to feel right again. Also, don't be disappointed to find that you need monitoring and some adjustment to the settings, usually remotely by a qualified RT (respiratory therapist) for the first few months. As you get better rest, the WAY YOU SLEEP may change, you may lose weight, you may gain weight, you may develop complex apnea and need different treatment....see what I mean? This is a learning AND and adaptive process for the next year, maybe less if you're lucky. Finally, discard a mask that just doesn't work for you after a few tough nights giving it a reasonable effort. Try other masks. Learn what works for you.

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Hi Gloaming. Thank you so much for your comment. It actually inspired me to start using the sleep tracking app that I downloaded over a month ago but have neglected to use then completely forgot about. I have also just gone out today to get a Smart Watch that can track sleep, HR, and oxygen levels!
You are very right--brain fog, memory problems, dizziness upon standing, cognitive errors, being perpetually irritated, low mood, low energy, low motivation, constant generalized body soreness. I want to want to do things, but I have less energy for it than I did even 6 months ago. The last time I felt refreshed up on waking up was when I was a kid. One day I woke up tired and it has gotten worse as I have gotten older. I want to exercise, I want to be active, I want go work, just to go out and do things without feeling like daily chores around the house takes up the majority of my energy. I'm not depressed. I've have serious episodes of depression, stress, and anxiety in my life before, but things are good now and even when I'm feeling good emotionally I still lack energy. Sleep problems run in both sides of my family so there may be a genetic component too, but neither of my parents have done sleep studies :/
I was worried I had a brain tumor because my memory has gotten so bad, but my brain MRI came back totally normal and the things I forget are usually very mundane and incidental. It just happens with so many things so much of the time that it makes me worry. I'm only 26.
Honestly, your comment sets me a bit at ease knowing that it won't be an immediate miracle because I've gone looking for miracle medical magic bullets in the past because I have been struggling so desperately for answers and it hasn't done much good. And what you say is also consistent with what I know about sleep. I just took a class recently on the biology of the brain and did a project all about the importance of sleep and the damage lack of sleep can have. But my poor sleep has been so "normal" for so long it didn't exactly set off any alarms in my head until the cardiologist recommended the at-home sleep study. The whole body needs sleep and is affected by lack of sleep. So maybe having a rash of "nonspecific" symptoms makes sense.

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@lookingforanswers2022, you may also be interested in this related discussion:
- Diagnosed with Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)? How's therapy going?: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/central-sleep-apnea-csa-suitable-therapy/

And this is the other discussion to which @gloaming referred:
- Is there a home test for sleep apnea? Testing in a clinic?
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/sleep-apnea-4/

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Yes, sleep apnea can cause you to be short of breath during the day. I thought I was getting a good night’s sleep but my sleep test showed I stopped breathing hundreds of times during the 6 hour test. A good CPAP will allow you to have truly restorative sleep and healing. You will be amazed at the positive changes to your health. Be patient and give it time to undo previous damage. Best of luck on your test.

REPLY

Thanks all for your comments and support!

I've been tracking my sleep for about 5 days now with a Smartwatch and sleep tracker app on my phone. I have been working hard on improving my sleep quality. If the trackers are accurate I am technically in bed for about 7 or 8 hours a night, but am only sleeping about 6 hours most of the time. My Smartwatch has not tracked any REM sleep so far, but my sleep app (that only tracks movement and sound) says I spend about 20-40% in REM sleep which may be an overestimate.

I remember one dream from the one night this week that I slept almost 8 hours (yay!). I listened to about an hour of deep sleep music that night which I believe helped. I dreamed my back molars were missing and were replaced with hard plastic in a previous surgery years ago that I did not remember getting. The plastic was sufficient for chewing food but the surgical dentists wanted to replace them with a very large row of fake teeth. I was apprehensive about it since I was still able to chew sufficiently with the plastic. The prosthetic teeth they showed me was like the outline of shoe (minus the heel) and a perfect match to the shape of my mouth. I could not understand how my mouth could be so long, like the mouth of a dog, with so many teeth that I had not realized were missing to begin with. I was also escaping a pursuant in a dark mansion, sneaking around trying not to get caught but also unable to leave. A bit stressful and the tooth part may have been at least partly instigated by pain/pressure from grinding my teeth which I do not normally do. I guess the repressed stress about insufficient sleep quality can come out in stress dreams :/

Did my at-home sleep study this weekend with pulse oxygen. Will update once I get the results!

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@slip275

Yes, sleep apnea can cause you to be short of breath during the day. I thought I was getting a good night’s sleep but my sleep test showed I stopped breathing hundreds of times during the 6 hour test. A good CPAP will allow you to have truly restorative sleep and healing. You will be amazed at the positive changes to your health. Be patient and give it time to undo previous damage. Best of luck on your test.

Jump to this post

Yes, been told I have sleep apnea...tried CPAP....did not work for me....I am getting much worse...especially when I first get up...I am in a deep haze for about approx 1 hour ....prob because my brain was somewhat oxygen starved?

I fear one of these days...I will not wake up...period.
I dose off constantly during day, too. Sooo fatigued. Can't do for myself...I live by myself--- no help at all.. Concentrating is hard.
I am 73...would a med called adderall help me? I am not familiar with it...& my GP is a jerk about "mental meds" I have been told. I keep telling about my issues here and he laughs...says it a part of aging!! I am upset. Anyone got some advise for my dilemma?. I want to get active and be me again!!...have an alert mind again and not falling asleep all the time at home.

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@katanaguy

Yes, been told I have sleep apnea...tried CPAP....did not work for me....I am getting much worse...especially when I first get up...I am in a deep haze for about approx 1 hour ....prob because my brain was somewhat oxygen starved?

I fear one of these days...I will not wake up...period.
I dose off constantly during day, too. Sooo fatigued. Can't do for myself...I live by myself--- no help at all.. Concentrating is hard.
I am 73...would a med called adderall help me? I am not familiar with it...& my GP is a jerk about "mental meds" I have been told. I keep telling about my issues here and he laughs...says it a part of aging!! I am upset. Anyone got some advise for my dilemma?. I want to get active and be me again!!...have an alert mind again and not falling asleep all the time at home.

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Hello @katanaguy, Welcome to Connect. Sorry to hear that the CPAP didn't work for you. You are not alone with CPAP frustration. May I ask what caused you to give up on the CPAP? Was it an issue with the mask?

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@katanaguy

Yes, been told I have sleep apnea...tried CPAP....did not work for me....I am getting much worse...especially when I first get up...I am in a deep haze for about approx 1 hour ....prob because my brain was somewhat oxygen starved?

I fear one of these days...I will not wake up...period.
I dose off constantly during day, too. Sooo fatigued. Can't do for myself...I live by myself--- no help at all.. Concentrating is hard.
I am 73...would a med called adderall help me? I am not familiar with it...& my GP is a jerk about "mental meds" I have been told. I keep telling about my issues here and he laughs...says it a part of aging!! I am upset. Anyone got some advise for my dilemma?. I want to get active and be me again!!...have an alert mind again and not falling asleep all the time at home.

Jump to this post

I am your age and find I don't feel rested all day.Makes me wonder, do I need this machine but you just reminded me,.live or die. Sending hugs

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