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Sleep Apnea May Cause Fatigue In MS Patients

Sleep Apnea May Cause Fatigue In MS Patients

A recent study suggests that fatigue, one of the most common and disabling symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), may actually not be due to MS, but is caused by obstructive sleep apnea. As with other sufferers of sleep apnea, it’s likely that treatment could lead to an improved quality of life.

Fatigue in MS Patients

More than three-quarters of MS patients report chronic fatigue associated with their illness. In addition, fatigue is the number one cause for MS patients leaving the workplace. In the past, it’s been suggested that MS-related fatigue has been related to poor sleep, such as due to bladder spasms and other muscle contractions. However, there hasn’t been much work done to examine the comorbidity of sleep apnea and MS.

Analyzing Sleep Apnea and Fatigue

In this new study, 195 MS patients were screened for sleep apnea using questionnaires. The questionnaire (STOP-BANG) showed that 110 of the MS patients, including 38 of 41 who had previously been diagnosed, were at an elevated risk for sleep apnea.

Researchers then compared results on the STOP-BANG test with other survey results, including a measure of chronic fatigue, and found that sleep apnea risk, as well as sleep problems in general, significantly predicted the risk of chronic fatigue.

Sleep Apnea and Chronic Fatigue

Sleep apnea is commonly associated with chronic fatigue. If you find yourself feeling worn out at the end of every day, sleep apnea may be to blame. Because sleep apnea may awaken you hundreds of times a night, preventing you from getting the restorative sleep your body needs.

If you suspect you may be suffering from sleep apnea, look for other common symptoms, such as:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Feeling unrested in the morning
  • Morning headaches
  • Dozing off during the day

And know that your risk may be higher if you’ve been diagnosed with conditions such as:

  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Mood disorders

If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in more than just fatigue. It is a leading contributor to heart failure, and it may increase your risk of multiple heart failures.

To learn more about sleep apnea’s causes and effects, please contact Dr. Lance Timmerman in Seattle today.

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