Contrary to popular belief, there are multiple kinds of sleep apnea. Simply put, sleep apnea is a condition in which you stop breathing while you’re asleep. There are a few key differences between the three main types of sleep apnea are rooted in brain function and possible obstructions.

What is Central Sleep Apnea Syndrome?

Central sleep apnea is one of the three main types of sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea is mainly characterized by the failure to breathe,  This failure to breathe is not due to a physical obstruction, but rather a failed signal to breathe. This type can be caused by an underlying health issue, particularly one that affects the lower that controls your breathing muscles. Central sleep apnea is often associated with another illness but in more rare cases it can happen alone or in conjunction to obstructive sleep apnea.

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Always able to get an appointment, front desk friendly and efficient. Shout out to Kyle an assistant to Dr. Cutler. He was caring and easy to talk too. Dr. Cutler is a very skilled surgeon with impressive credentials. He was reassuring with my sinus issues and monitoring my progress since my surgery in May. Dr. Cutler is realistic about my condition but helps me stay on a manageable program for my sinus condition. Many good reasons to continue my care at AOO!

I’ve been a patient at this clinic for years for sinus infections, sinus surgery, immunotherapy and hearing aids. I have always appreciated the care I’ve received. I particularly like Dr. J. Cutler, but am also comfortable seeing other doctors when he isn’t available. Both the Denver and the Lone Tree offices are easily accessible and have good parking. I’ve always been able to get an appointment when I needed to see a doctor, and the care of the allergy staff has been on point. Wait times have always been very acceptable. -Mary W.

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Symptoms & Diagnosis of Central Sleep Apnea

Snoring is the most noticeable side effect in obstructive sleep apnea. However, snoring rarely occurs in patients diagnosed with central sleep apnea.

Symptoms of central sleep apnea are:

  • Drowsiness during the day
  • Frequent sleep interruptions – waking up or frequent trips to the bathroom
  • Morning headaches
  • Poor concentration
  • Moodiness

The best way to identify and treat any sleep related disorder  is through an in-office evaluation with your ENT specialist along with a sleep study. These two evaluations will give your doctor the information they need to make a proper diagnosis. Since sleep apnea is often closely associated with another illness it important to address that illness and treat it accordingly. However, losing weight and maintaining a healthy  lifestyle can reduce the negative side effects.

Read Our Blog

Sleep Apnea Treatment Choices


Obstructive vs. Central Sleep Apnea: Key Differences and Treatment Options


Schedule a Consultation

If you are located in the Denver and Lone Tree area and think you may have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, give us a call to schedule an office evaluation. Associates of Otolaryngology  is ready to help you find your individual treatment plan.



Keith Swartz, M.D.

Dr. Keith Swartz is dual-board-certified in otolaryngology and sleep medicine, and he received his medical degree from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. He was the Chief Resident of the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery at the United States Air Force Academy and founded the first comprehensive home sleep testing protocol in the United States Air Force. When not helping patients at the Associates of Otolaryngology, he loves to ski, fly fish, and spend time with his wife and three kids.

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