Types of sleep apnoea
There are three main types of sleep apnoea: obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), central sleep apnea (CSA) and mixed sleep apnoea.
Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)
Obstructive sleep apnoea is the most common type of sleep apnoea, making up 84% of sleep apnoea diagnoses. In most cases of obstructive sleep apnoea, air stops flowing to the lungs because of a blockage (or obstruction) in the upper airway – that is, in the nose or throat.
The upper airway could become blocked due to:
- the muscles around your airway relaxing too much during sleep, which blocks sufficient air from getting through. This narrow airway causes a vibration in your throat, which creates the sound of snoring.
- the weight of your neck narrowing the airway
- inflamed tonsils, or other temporary reasons
- structural reasons, like the shape of your nose, neck or jaw
Central sleep apnoea (CSA)
Central sleep apnoea is a less common type of sleep apnoea. In some cases, the airway is actually open but air stops flowing to the lungs because no effort is made to breathe. This is because the communication between the brain and the body has been affected so the automatic action of breathing stops. People with CSA don’t often snore, so the condition sometimes goes unnoticed.
Mixed sleep apnoea
This is a mixture of both OSA (where there is a blockage or obstruction in the upper airway) and CSA (where no effort is made to breathe). Your doctor can help you understand more about this if you need to.
If you have any concerns that you may have any type of sleep apnoea, please consult your doctor.