When it comes to Multiple Sclerosis sleep apnea
can be a more common problem for disrupting sleep
than you think!
When it comes to sleep apnea,
10 out of every 100 people have sleep apnea, but a whopping 40% to 50%
of people go undiagnosed for most or all of their lives!
This is what is being reported
for people not diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
For those of us diagnosed with
Multiple Sclerosis, often the occurrence of sleep apnea is even a
higher percentage than that of the average person.
Multiple Sclerosis is known
for confusing or causing damage to the nerves through out the central
Often sleep disorders are a
result of the way that the brain interprets or misinterprets brain
signals and disruptions to the wake-sleep cycle or to the circadian
rhythm of the body.
When it comes to sleep apnea
and other sleep disorders, Multiple Sclerosis has a much higher
incident rate, since MS can set us up for many more sleep disorders,
because of the nature of Multiple Sclerosis.
Sleep apnea is
disorder where the person experiences shorter periods
of time where breathing stops temporarily
anywhere from a few times a minute up to as much as 100 times
sleep apnea results in the affected person feeling
sleepy or even
very exhausted during most of each, during the daytime waking
The person with sleep apnea
often wakes up a few times per minute, at least partially, to allow the
airway to fully open up to free the obstruction that is preventing the
person from breathing normally.
determine if sleep apnea is present or to determine if some other type
of sleep disorder is present, the person with the sleep problems is
observed during an overnight sleep study.
the sleep study, leads are placed on different points on the head,
face, arms, legs and other points to collect data as to how the body
and brain responds during the night time sleeping hours.
rate, heart rhythm, breathing rate, brain wave activity, skin
temperature, oxygenation saturation levels of the air that is breathed,
night movements and positions, and sleep cycles are monitored to gather
data to determine which of the most common sleep disorders are present.
Sleep apnea is one of the most
common sleep disorders that can disrupt sleep and leave the person
Multiple Sclerosis tends to include exhaustion or fatigue with it,
often the exhaustion that is being experienced is blamed on the MS
fatigue and is not considered to be anything else for a longer period
of time before it is even suspected that sleep apnea can be
contributing to the exhaustion that is being experienced by those
diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
of this problem, often MS patients, who are also experiencing problems
with sleep apnea go for much longer periods of time, even years, being
undiagnosed with sleep apnea, which just prolongs the whole host of
problems that going for longer periods of time with sleep deprivation
When it comes to prolonged or
more severe Multiple Sclerosis sleep apnea much more severe fatigue can
result which can affect how well our brains can function, increase MS
cognitive problems, increase the amount of daily stress that we are
going through daily, increase the effects of MS attacks on the body.
periods of going with very little restful sleep for days, weeks or even
years can result in all kinds of brain
function problems including:
understanding what other people are saying to you
scrambling letters, numbers words, or concepts (dyslexia)
organizing words, thoughts or ideas for being able to speak
you don't sleep for a longer period of time, both short term and long
term memory can be severely affected
Sleep apnea can also
cause more problems with dizziness, experiencing
experiencing periods of passing out.
sleep studies are performed, where data is collected for several ways
that the body and brain reacts during sleep to figure out what type of
sleep disorder may be present.
During the sleep study data is
of oxygen being breathed in through the nose while you
and heart rhythm
movements (checking for restless syndrome)
movement (this is to determine if you are entering the
deepest stage of sleep where your body actually rests called REM sleep
(short for rapid eye movement)
wave activity is measured (this is to monitor what stages
of sleep are being gone through during sleep, since brain wave activity
speeds up and slows down during the different stages of sleep.
Other data is collected to
determine if you wake up and go back to sleep at all while sleeping to
determine the number arousals and to determine what may be causing you
to wake up and disturb your natural sleep cycles, that can be
contributing to your daytime fatigue or sleepiness.
Sleep studies also gather
data to determine which of the 3 main types of sleep apnea
are being experienced (if sleep apnea is even present).
The 3 main types of Multiple
Sclerosis sleep apnea that are most commonly
* Obstructive Sleep Apnea
apnea is where a structural defect, such as a deviated septum
or some type of structural obstruction of the sinus or other part of
the airway exists that can interfere with breathing during sleep.
is the more common type of sleep apnea that is seen for both people who
have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and for those who do not
sleep apnea is characterized by a restriction in the flow of air to the
airway, which can either be caused by a physical obstruction, like a
deviated septum in the nasal passages or a structural problem where the
airway relaxes or collapses too much during sleep, thus also
Often surgery can be used to
repair the obstruction, but at times, the surgery can only correct part
of what is causing the sleep apnea.
This can also describe a
problem where the airway can relax or partially collapse during sleep,
restricting the person's ability to breathe freely during sleep.
Surgery can not be used to
help correct this type of obstructive sleep apnea. A positive
air pressure mask is often worn to force the airway open and deliver
more oxygen to the brain to help correct or alleviate this type of
Obstructive sleep apnea is
often hereditary, but at times this type of sleep apnea can also appear
later in life without appearing to be related to being hereditary.
Injury to the central nervous
system or damage from an accident can also contribute to obstructive
sleep apnea in some ways.
* Central Sleep Apnea
Central sleep apnea is more of
a brain function problem of the central respiratory portion of the
brain that can interfere with correct breathing while sleeping.
Often Multiple Sclerosis can
confuse how the brain interprets nerve signals that can scramble the
wake sleep cycle and confuse the brain's ability to interpret our
abilities to breath normally while sleeping.
Central sleep apnea can be
more difficult to get under control and the positive pressure sleep
mask or CPAP machines can only help so much in correcting this type of
* Combination Sleep Apnea
Combination sleep apnea can be
a problem where there is a structural problem that obstructs breathing
freely at night combined with the brain function problems that are
associated with central sleep apnea.
Often the structural part of
the problem can be corrected using surgery, as in the case of
a deviated sepium located in the sinuses.
The resulting problems that
can result is where the brain has been so used to their being an
obstruction for so long that the brain still acts like the obstruction
is still present after if has been removed or corrected.
This problem can often be
corrected by retraining the brain using Biofeedback Neurostimulation to
the brain to retrain the brain to function better, once the obstruction
has been removed.
This method of removing or
correcting the obstruction in combination with retraining the brain can
often help many people with sleep apnea related to the effects of
Multiple Sclerosis on the central nervous system.
Biofeedback neural stimulation
of the brain can also be used to help alleviate the problems with sleep
apnea to some degree, regardless of the type of sleep apnea that is
present in the majority of the cases of sleep apnea combined with
Multiple Sclerosis sleep apnea
often results in a
reduced amount of adequate oxygen in the blood stream and a reduced
supply of adequate oxygen to the brain to allow for restful sleep and
to aid in the proper function of the brain and other processes through
out the brain.
When sleep apnea is present
this can cause the person to feel tired all of the time, even after
just waking up from a longer night of what appeared to be sleep.
When sleep apnea is severe
enough, it may even contribute to dizziness, feeling nauseous after
eating, feeling exhausted all of the time and maybe even to episodes of
passing out, blacking out or losing consciousness in some way.
Having Multiple Sclerosis
present with the sleep apnea can greatly increase the amount of fatigue
that is being felt and add to the extreme problems, which can result
from long term lack of restful sleep.
The person with sleep apnea
can also feel like they are perpetually taking "cat naps" instead of
actually feeling like they have slept much at all.
Most often the use of a
continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP machine is the main way
that is used for the majority of cases of sleep apnea that are
diagnosed each year to help supply extra oxygen to the brain and to
help improve the person's ability to get more restful sleep during the
sleep hours that we all need each and every day, just for us to be able
to function each day.
A combination of surgery,
biofeedback and the use of the CPAP machine can help to alleviate the
problems that sleep apnea can cause with affecting Multiple Sclerosis
sleep and help to correct the results of sleep apnea on the body.
Often the CPAP machine helps
correct the sleep apnea problem for the most part where surgery is not
needed at least right away.
If physical obstructions are
present that can be contributing to sleep apnea and they are severe
enough to restrict the ability to breathe adequately while sleeping,
the sleep doctor and/or ear-nose-throat doctor will recommend getting
surgery to remove the obstruction.
Going for surgery for a
deviated septum, or to have tonsils or adenoids removed doesn't always
correct the problem with sleep apnea.
There are times
where the brain needs to be retrained that the physical
obstruction is no longer there and the breathing habits during sleep
need to be retrained or reprogrammed to function more like normal
breathing while sleeping.
exercises, practicing yoga meditation, tai chi and other forms of
exercise that include retraining and slowing down breathing to help you
to relax can help to retrain the brain to help you learn to breathe
more deeply and reduce the episodes where you tend to hold your breathe
or stop breathing temporarily, while sleeping at night.
Getting restful sleep can make
a huge difference for those of us diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis by
helping our bodies to function better and reduce extreme sleepiness
during the day.
In addition to reducing
sleepiness, dealing with the Multiple Sclerosis sleep apnea can help to:
* improve oxygenation to the brain
and the blood supply to the rest of the body
* improve our body's ability to
rest, repair and replenish during the time that we sleep
* restore the ability of our brains
to function better again
* increase the natural ability of
bodies to produce a larger amount of stem cells to help
repair the damage to the central nervous system that MS attacks on the
body can cause
* help to reverse the effects of
Multiple Sclerosis by allowing the myelin sheath, that has
been damaged by Multiple Sclerosis attacking the spinal cord and the
brain, to repair itself.
Going for a comprehensive
general sleep study can help to determine if sleep apnea is a concern
for each of us, who have been diagnosed with Multiple
Sclerosis, which may be preventing the ability of our bodies to help to
reverse the effects of Multiple Sclerosis on attacking and damaging our
If we are experiencing more of
the fatigue that is often associated with Multiple Sclerosis, is at
least worth it for us to be evaluated for sleep apnea.
If sleep apnea is a problem
for us, correcting or at least reducing the sleep apnea can go
a long way to helping us to function much better and help to reverse
many of the effects of Multiple Sclerosis on our central