Sleep Apnea

– By Adam Shuster, DO – Pain Management Consultants of SWFL –

Fibromyalgia is a pain syndrome causing widespread body pain.  Fibromyalgia is more common in women but is also common in men.  Aside from pain, sleep disturbance is a very common complaint in patients with fibromyalgia. In fact, sleep disturbance and fatigue, compared to pain  in patient’s with fibromyalgia, may be equally as disruptive in a patient’s day to day activities.  Fibroymalgia patients can suffer from deep sleep dysregulation.  There is also a known correlation between sleep disturbance and pain perception.

Sleep disturbances in fibromyalgia may range from restless leg syndrome to sleep apnea.  Sleep apnea is a condition in which a patient’s airway becomes obstructed during sleep. Sleep apnea and sleep disordered breathing can affect the quality of a patient’s sleep.  Interestingly, women who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea can be 10 times more likely to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia.  Sleep apnea may cause excessive daytime drowsiness which can affect cognitive function and work performance.  However, obstructive sleep apnea can be treated.  Improving a patient’s quality of sleep may help in decreasing pain and other complaints common in fibromyalgia.  Patients with sleep apnea are also more sensitive to pain medications which can also worsen sleep apnea.

To be diagnosed with sleep apnea a patient has to undergo a sleep study.  Once diagnosed, treatment can ensue with a CPAP machine.  A CPAP machine uses pressure to keep the airway open so there is no obstruction during sleep.  Adequate treatment of sleep apnea may improve a patient’s quality of life.  You may want to speak with your physician if you have concerns about sleep apnea.

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