Obstructive sleep apnea affects around 20 million Americans and can lead to hypertension, heart attack, stroke, depression, muscle pain, fibromyalgia, morning headaches, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sleep Apnea and Epilepsy

A third or more of epilepsy patients may suffer from sleep apnea, and the number may be even higher in cases of treatment-resistant epilepsy. Some researchers have suggested that treating sleep apnea may be an important step toward reducing the frequency of epileptic seizures. A recent case study by researchers in Brazil makes an important causal link between apneic events and epileptic seizures and suggest that all patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy should be evaluated for sleep apnea.

The study followed a 28-year old obese man who suffered both epilepsy and sleep apnea following brain trauma. They used a combination of EEG and polysomnography to monitor him for both seizures and apneic events. They detected both obstructive sleep apneas and central sleep apneas. They also found that there seemed to be a reinforcing effect between the two conditions. Sometimes apneic events were brought on by seizures, and sometimes seizures were brought on by apneic events.

As part of the case study, the researchers recommended that all epileptic patients whose condition is resistant to treatment, whether they present snoring or not, should be studied using a polysomnogram to determine both the presence of sleep apnea and what relationship it might have to their epilepsy.

Epilepsy is just one of many conditions that can be worsened by sleep apnea. If you have a medical condition that is resistant to treatment, it is possible that sleep apnea is a contributing factor. Consult with your doctor and contact the Snoring and Sleep Apnea Treatment Center in Gurnee, Illinois, to schedule a sleep apnea consultation.

posted by Lynn at 5:40 AM