Central sleep apnea. Cause?

Posted by peetiepie @peetiepie, Sep 6, 2018

So I have an appointment for a sleep study based on symptoms of fatigue, brain fog, anxiety,. I do know I stop breathing sometimes when I'm falling asleep but I thought everyone did that when they are really tired. My fiance just told me he has seen me stop breathing when sleeping. I'm so curious is there us a cause that can be fixed instead of treating. I have a prolactinoma and I saw a chiropractor once he took x-rays and said my C1 and C7 don't move. Can either of these be the cause? The chiropractor dis have a plan to get those vertebrae moving 6 weeks of laser treatments I think 3×a week i just can't afford that and as far as I know my insurance won't cover it. Any thoughts?

Also what can cause C1 and C7 to be immobile? I have no pain whatsoever in my back or neck. I do get headaches everyday I wake up with them and just try to manage them through the day. Also have raynauds, the chiropractor said making the C1 and C7 mobile would help with circulation and the raynauds.

Hi, @peetiepie — sounds like a good thing to get this checked if your fiancee is saying that you do stop breathing when sleeping.

You talked about fixing the cause instead of treating the sleep apnea, if that is what is found on the sleep study you'll be doing, and I get that. Here is some Mayo Clinic information on central sleep apnea that may interest you: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/central-sleep-apnea/symptoms-causes/syc-20352109. If you look under the Diagnosis & Treatment tab at the top, you'll see some information that says potentially addressing any associated medical problems can help central sleep apnea, or reducing dosage of any opioid medications that may be causing sleep apnea can also help, if these apply in your situation. I don't see any information on C1 and C7 immobility contributing to sleep apnea, but that may be worthwhile to ask your doctor about during the sleep study process.

I'd like to tag some members who have talked about central sleep apnea or other forms of sleep apnea who may have some insights for you as you undergo a sleep study and look at potential causes and address them if you do indeed have sleep apnea. Please meet @johnbishop @kiwi @trippangie17 @yusofa @menotpvcs @hosta @thankful @johnhans. @gailb may also have some thoughts about the C1 and C7 immobility your chiropractor mentioned.

What has your doctor said about treating the headaches you mentioned you have every day?

You titled your post as central sleep apnea. Has a doctor told you central sleep apnea is suspected? I only ask because central sleep apnea is a specialized diagnosis not normally given to someone just getting tested and is not an usual diagnosis. Stopping breathing is not normal. It can be a dangerous condition that can lead to abnormal heartbeat and to strokes and heart attacks. Being overweight can cause an increase in sleep apnea, so losing weight can help reduce symptoms. Central sleep apnea is treated differently. I do not have that so could not help with that. A lung doctor who treats sleep apnea could tell you more about that.
You mentioned you have Reynaud's Disease. That can lead to sleep apnea. Sleeping on your side is recommended for people with sleep apnea. I do not have Reynaud's so again a doctor could help with how to treat that. Maybe someone with Reynaud's Disease is present on this board and can help with further insights on treating Reynaud's.


In reference to both your questions about C7, and sleep apnea, I have experienced both. I've never been told that the compression fracture of my C7 would affect my breathing while sleeping. It does affect my comfort while sleeping as I must have a good supportive pillow that allows me to sleep on my sides. I sometimes awake with a stiff neck and headache from sleeping on a pillow that's too high or too low. Placing a rolled up hand towel on the back of my neck for support helps if I am away from home and don't have my pillow. My chiropractor treats my C7 and other pain issues I have had using ART with laser treatments. Even though insurance and Medicare don't pay for it, it's been invaluable to me in nearly eliminating my pain. Since you're so young, you may want to do what it takes to regain mobility in your neck now. Physical problems that aren't repaired now tend to become worse as you age. Usually after the initial treatment, maintenance treatments are periodic and definately help.

– Have you talked to your physician about your C1, C7 immobility issues? You may want to take the x-rays to your physicians office, or have them take new x-rays. Necks are very touchy, so you want to be sure getting chiropractic treatment is safe for yours.

I had sleep apnea for many years before I had a sleep study. I had pretty severe sleep apnea, so I was prescribed a Cpap sleep machine. I was reluctant to use it at first, but finally started. It was wonderful! I awoke feeling great and hopping out of bed almost immediately. My brain fog, headaches, and morning depression were gone! In 2014 I decided to have the RnY gastric bypass surgery. As a result I lost 80 pounds in a short time. After 8 months I had another sleep study and found I no longer needed the Cpap. I haven't used it since then. However, I sometimes wish I was using it still, as my sleep was so much better and I felt so good upon waking. I may need another sleep study, which I'll ask about.

If you have a sleep study and are prescribed a Cpap, I have a recommendation. I tried a full mask that covers mouth and nose, but I didn't like it. I changed to the face mask called "nose pillows" and I found them much more comfortable. Of course that's an individual preference. Good luck with both your issues and kudos for taking care of yourself.

Hi @peetiepie, I think it's a good thing that you are having the sleep study so the sleep medicine doctors can provide a better diagnosis and come up with a treatment plan. As @johnhans mentions it is a dangerous condition and the central sleep apnea may be treated differently. I have obstructive sleep apnea and have been using a CPAP but was not familiar with central sleep apnea. I did a search on Google Scholar (https://scholar.google.com/) and found a couple of interesting articles on central sleep apnea:

Sustained 12 Month Benefit of Phrenic Nerve Stimulation for Central Sleep Apnea

Recently-Approved Devices > remedē® System – P160039 – FDA


I was having a horrible time sleeping at night and they sent me home with an "at home" test that I did in Phoenix at a friends house, it showed mild sleep apnea. They put me on a CPAP machine. I went through 1 year of being on a regular sleep pap machine with no resolution. I finally went to another doctor who put me through a formal study, also in Phoenix. This allowed for us to change the settings. However, I was having larger Central Sleep Apnea events, they decided to try me on 3 liters of oxygen while I am sleeping. This has allowed me to sleep better. It appears that I have High Altitude Sleep Apnea and/or Complex Sleep Apnea.

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