Certain factors put you at increased risk of central sleep apnea:

  • Sex. Males are more likely to develop central sleep apnea than are females.
  • Age. Central sleep apnea is more common among older adults, especially adults older than age 65, possibly because they may have other medical conditions or sleep patterns that are more likely to cause central sleep apnea.
  • Heart disorders. People with atrial fibrillation or congestive heart failure are at greater risk of central sleep apnea. Sleep disordered breathing, such as Cheyne-Stokes breathing and obstructive sleep apnea, may be present in up to 50 percent of people with congestive heart failure.
  • Stroke or brain tumor. These brain conditions can impair the brain's ability to regulate breathing.
  • High altitude. Sleeping at an altitude higher than you're accustomed to may increase your risk of sleep apnea. High-altitude sleep apnea is no longer a problem when you return to a lower altitude.
  • Opioid use. Opioid medications may increase the risk of central sleep apnea.
  • CPAP. Some people with obstructive sleep apnea develop central sleep apnea while using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). This condition is known as complex sleep apnea because it is a combination of obstructive and central sleep apneas.

    For some people, complex sleep apnea goes away with continued use of a CPAP device. Other people may be treated with a different kind of positive airway pressure therapy.

Jun. 28, 2013