How Does Sleep Apnea Affect People With Multiple Sclerosis?
I was reading a number of interesting articles today on the effects that sleep apnea can have on people who have multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis, or MS as it is also known by, is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that affects the brain and spinal cord. Without getting too technical, the axons in the central nervous system are wrapped in a substance called myelin. Myelin would be equivalent to the coating you would find wrapped around an electrical wire and it’s function is to insulate and protect the axon and help speed nerve transmission throughout the body. MS uses the person’s own autoimmune system to destroy the myelin within the central nervous system.
It has been proven that fatigue is one of the most common and debilitating symptoms experienced by persons with multiple sclerosis, affecting up to 90% of patients at some point during their disease and that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may actually exacerbate the fatigue severity in people with MS.
Not much is known about obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and it’s relationship to patients with MS because it was widely believed that a patient’s fatigue was caused by the MS disease. However, new research has been done that suggests MS patients may be more likely to have some form of sleeping disorder and that their fatigue could be caused from, and often worsened by their lack of sleep.
The results of the study suggest that a good portion of MS-related fatigue could be reduced by finding and treating sleep apnea, as 20% of the people in the study were officially diagnosed with sleep apnea.
If you need further information about MS and fatigue linked with sleep apnea, you will find an interesting read at the following link: http://50shadesofsun.com/?p=2473.