Can an autonomic disorder cause sleep apnea?

Yes, Mind and Body. Our brain controls body, to include complex split-second feedback loops. Autonomic refers to most actions outside conscious awareness. While apnea can be either central (no brain stem action to breath) and/or peripheral (e.g. Tongue blocking pharynx & not moved enough to open airway), the end result is no air flow for whatever period of time. Most treatments are aimed at symptoms, not true causes.
Certainly. 'obstructive' sleep apnea is due to anatiomical causes. The tongue, soft palate and the tonsils can block the airway during sleep. An intraoral appliance constructed by a trained dentist can alleviate this problem.

Related Questions

Could years of sleep apnea obstructive cause autonomic dysfunction?

See below. Good question. Obstructive sleep apnea (osa) ; autonomic dysfunction have been studied intently over the recent years. There are direct links surfacing between the two but more indirect links exist via osa ; Insulin resistance. So to answer your question, it's possible, especially if the osa is poorly controlled w/ other comorbidities present exacerbating the situation. Best to keep osa in check! Read more...

Can sleep apnea be related to an autonomic dysfunction?

Yes. Research has shown a relationship to all disease and sleep apnea, most recently linked to cancer. While the debate similar to the "chicken and egg" dilemma exists, seek treatment for the sleep apnea asap. Read more...

If sleep apnea is due to autonomic dysfunction, what can be done to stop it?

Depends on the cause. It is unusual to be caused by autonomic dysfunction. Usually there is an obsstructive problem. Read more...
Splinting. Obstructive apnea is often a "side-effect" of the body's self-preservation mode during sleep. The same mechanisms that prevent us from acting out our dreams (think sleep walking and its risks). When muscles are "paralyzed" in sleep, the loss of tone of the muscles of the throat result in partial (snoring) or complete (apnea) collapse when inhaling. CPAP or dental devices splint the airway open. Read more...
Improve ANS function. Your respiratory rate is controlled by your body's ph. If your ph is too high (alkaline), your respiratory rate will decrease as your body tries to retain co2 and become less alkaline. It is possible that excess parasympathetic tone can make you more alkaline and contribute to a deceased respiratory drive & predispose to apneic episodes. One would need to find & treat the cause of the pns problem. Read more...