I put on the bed side lamp and looked at him closely. He seemed to be sound asleep again. Now, did I hear the sounds or was I dreaming? I mean I was dreaming but… anyway, I put off the lamp and made myself nice and cozy and was about to doze off and try to catch up with my dream when, there it was again the same choking sound. So it was real then. I woke up, switched on the table lamp again and decided to observe Allan like a hawk or bald eagle or whatever.
About five minutes later Allan suddenly seemed to choke, wake up, turn around and go back to sleep. Weird! It was as if nothing had happened at all he just went right back to sleep. The next morning when mentioned what I heard and saw, he seemed surprised. Are you kidding me? He asked. No, I said and told him to make an appointment with our doctor right away. “There must be a bone stuck in your throat” I said and added, “Can you feel it somewhere?” “Bone in my throat? No I don’t think so” he said and added, “Apart from feeling sleepy and tired I’m quite okay”.
Our family doctor heard me out patiently and asked me a few questions like does Allen snore, does he frequently complain of being sleepy during the day time, does he complain of being tired, or having headaches in the morning? I told the doctor that Allan does not snore but my answer to all other questions would have to be “yes”. The doctor peered and poked into Allen’s nose and throat and finally said he was referring him to a throat specialist. To make a long story short, a week and several tests later which included an overnight stay in a sleep center, Allan was diagnosed with Central sleep apnea. The doctor was kind enough to explain to us what Central sleep apnea was.
What Is Central Sleep Apnea?
Central sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that happens when signals from the brain that instruct the body to breathe in and out somehow get lost in transit. The lack of instruction results in stoppage of breathing and the body gets starved of oxygen. When this happens, the brain goes into hyper drive and wakes up the person which results in the choking sounds, turn over, and go back to sleep. Essentially, the breathing cycle restarts and continues until the signals are lost again. The whole process goes on many times during the night. I was told that unless treated immediately, Central sleep apnea can lead to disastrous consequences.
Just like with other cases of sleep apnea, it is also no different if you are suffering from it to wake up constantly during the night when you gasp or choke for breath, and such incidents can occur as many as hundred times in a night and you are robbed from the valuable sleep and rest needed.
You need to consult your doctor and get a prescribed treatment program as early as possible so that you will get better treatments, whether you are suspecting of having central sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea.