Sleep Apnea / Disorders Expert Forum
Central Sleep Apnea
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Central Sleep Apnea

I have been diagnosed with central sleep apnea, with about 26 brain awakenings per hr, no REM, and numerous breathing stops of 30 seconds or more during several sleep studies.  (I also had several instances of obstructive sleep apnea incidents during various sleep studies.)  It's probably no wonder that I also have been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, as well as chronic myofascial pain syndrome and degenerative disc disease.  (And I still have several yrs to go before I'll be 50!!)

My neurologist thinks that the CSA is probably caused by the use of a fentanyl patch to treat my chronic pain issues.  I feel like I'm between a rock and a hard place now because it seems like I have to make a choice between being exhausted all the time and feeling achy all the time if I lower or stop using the opioid pain meds.  I don't get much relief from my CPAP unit.    

Is there any possibility that there might be something else, other than any meds, involved in causing the CSA?  I had sleep problems and fatigue problems prior to using any opioid meds and prior to the diagnosis of CSA.  (Sleep Apnea wasn't suspected to begin with since I have a BMI of 19-20 and don't snore.)  

Could there be any connection to a mild brain injury I suffered about 15 yrs prior to the diagnosis.  Could any auto-immune disorders play a role in CSA?
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Sorry to hear about all your problems. Unfortunately, there's no simple explanation for CSA. Brain injury can definitely be an aggravating factor, but it's hard to prove. Auto-immune conditions and obstructive sleep apnea can set up conditions in your brain that promotes microscopic clotting. This can also cause various neurologic symptoms. Did you try a regular CPAP or a servo-ventilator type?
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Avatar_n_tn
In the response to my question, you mentioned that "this can cause various neurologic symptoms."  Could you please elaborate on these other symptoms.  Also, what is a servo-ventilator type, (of CPAP)?  I have tried CPAP in the past with little help and have also just started to use it again to see if a different mask might help, but I feel like it makes breathing even more difficult and I wake up feeling much more "hungover".  (My nose usually feels partially to completely stuffed up/blocked and the smaller mask feels suffocating.)  
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