CPAP can help ease many symptoms

Fibromyalgia is a condition where a person will experience all-over body pain due to their being unable to sleep because of the body pain, which is a vicious cycle. It is linked to sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, insomnia and restless leg syndrome.
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a condition that causes a person to feel an overwhelming urge to move their legs when laying down and they experience tingling, aching and itching sensations. Restless leg syndrome is classified as a neurological disorder that can impair a person’s ability to fall asleep.
Fibromyalgia and sleep disorders go hand in hand as pain causes the individual to not be able to sleep and the lack of sleep leads to more pain. If a person manages to get some proper sleep then the symptoms start to ease.
A study revealed that those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea may also have Fibromyalgia and they also found that using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) was an effective treatment for both conditions. A CPAP device is a machine that supplies oxygen continuously via a face mask while you sleep to prevent any obstructed breathing.
Another study found that patients with Fibromyalgia have a high risk of developing or already having restless leg syndrome by ten fold. Sleep disruption can cause the development of RLS but also having RLS can lead to developing Fibromyalgia.
Due to the interlinking nature of all these conditions, then by treating one you can ease or prevent other conditions from developing. CPAP can treat sleep apnea and aid in a patient getting a proper night’s sleep which will in turn ease Fibromyalgia symptoms and can in turn also ease or prevent RLS. Also treating the Fibromyalgia or RLS can reduce the pain and aid in getting a proper night’s sleep.
CPAP machines have a mask that fits over the nose and mouth that provides constant airflow, keeping the airway open and the sleeper breathing throughout the night. CPAP machines also track breathing changes and that data is used by health care professionals to adjust, as needed, the air pressure as well as possibly add additional treatments or medications for maximum effectiveness. Because some of the most effective CPAP machines are rather robust and cumbersome when it comes to traveling many leave their machines at home. A travel CPAP machine is a smaller, more compact version of a traditional CPAP. They don’t include a humidifier but most people are willing to give this up for the convenience. Many of the newer travel CPAP machines also have the benefit of being able to monitor and record sleep data.
Whether you have a sleep condition that worsens your Fibromyalgia or your Fibromyalgia wrecks your sleep, sleep can improve Fibromyalgia Here are some tips to help those with Fibromyalgia improve their sleep.

  • Don’t oversleep – only sleep the length of time you need to feel refreshed.
  • Keep a sleep diary so you can review what woke you and other sleep factors.
  • Stick to a sleep schedule.
  • Use relaxation therapies – this may also improve RLS.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Create a proper sleeping environment – cool temperature and a dark room.
  • Avoid long daytime naps.
  • Don’t go to sleep hungry or on a very-full stomach.
  • Avoid caffeine prior to bed.

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For those suffering from respiratory diseases, sleep apnoea is often an accompanying condition. Sleep apnoea is a common and chronic condition in which breathing stops or becomes shallow during sleep. Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes and can occur 30 or more times an hour. Disrupted sleep and a reduction in the level of oxygen reaching the brain can increase blood pressure (leading to heart disease), reduce mental ability and leave you feeling tired and fatigued, in addition to your daily respiratory symptoms.

There are two common treatments for sleep apnoea; continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and mandibular advancement devices (MADs). A recent study has shown that both treatments not only are effective in reducing sleepiness and increasing oxygen levels while you sleep but also result in a lowering of both systolic and diastolic blood pressure rates.

MADs work by pushing the jaw and tongue forward to keep the airway open during sleep and are shaped similar to a gum shield. With CPAP the patient wears a mask connected to a device that produces mild air pressure and provides oxygen which helps to keep the airway open.
Some patients find it difficult to adapt to CPAP with problems wearing the face mask or being unable to sleep due to the noise of the compressor and find MADs a more suitable treatment but it does depend on what type of sleep apnoea you suffer from as to which treatment is more suitable.
In the study of 5000 patients both treatments were tested as to their effectiveness and ability to decrease blood pressure. There was no significant difference between CPAP and MADs in lowering blood pressure, they both were equally effective however CPAP was more likely to lower systolic blood pressure compared to MADs and would be slightly more effective in patients who are able to enjoy more hours of sleep.
Even though CPAP appears slightly more effective and are effective across the whole severity range, MADs are equally good as an alternative treatment for some patients who suffer mild to moderate sleep apnoea. The lowering of blood pressure achieved by the two treatments is modest so if you suffer from very high blood pressure you should get it checked regularly and take your medication to help to combat this.
Many patients find that by combating their sleep problems they feel much more able to face the day with their respiratory condition and in combination with oxygen therapy during the day or night they feel able to being able to carry out all their daily activities and feel near normal again.



Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, which is a set of symptoms that include memory loss and problems with thinking, problem-solving and language. It is a physical disease that affects the brain and proteins build up in the brain forming ‘plaques’ and ‘tangles’ around the nerves. Connection is then lost between the nerves cells and leads to the death of the nerve cells and loss of brain tissue. Patients with Alzheimers also have a shortage of important chemicals that help to transmit signals around the brain. The disease is progressive and as more of the nerve cells die and brain tissue is lost, the more severe the symptoms.
Sleep apnoea is a condition where the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep and interrupts normal breathing patterns. During an episode the lack of oxygen triggers your brain to pull you out of your deep sleep so that your airway reopens and you can breathe normally. After falling back into a deep sleep again further episodes can occur even as frequently as every few minutes. Most patients snore loudly and have laboured and noisy breathing and is often interrupted by gasping and snorting. This repeated sleep interruption can make patients feel extremely tired during the day and suffer from reduced mental ability. However unless a partner or family member notices your symptoms whilst you sleep you may not know that you suffer from this condition and many people go undiagnosed.
Recent studies have shown that sleep apnoea may quicken memory decline and bring forward the onset of memory impairment conditions like Alzheimers by 10 years. The development and progression of Alzheimers may also be speeded up by sleep apnoea as well. These studies also revealed however that sleep apnoea patients that were being treated with supplemental oxygen overnight delayed the onset of memory impairment problems by as much as 10 years. Patients with sleep apnoea who were being treated declined at the same rate as volunteers who did not have sleep apnoea showing that being treated by oxygen counteracted the harm being done by the condition. It appears that the frequent drops in oxygen levels during episodes of untreated sleep apnoea have a major impact upon memory impairment and can directly lead to the early development of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Also during sleep is when the brain has time to remove harmful waste products, if sleep is disturbed then there is an accumulation of harmful proteins that block nerve cell function. Certain parts of the brain are more sensitive to drops in oxygen levels than others; certain neurons in the hippocampus (where Alzheimer’s is thought to start) is especially sensitive to drops in oxygen and sleep apnoea may ‘stress’ these neurons out.
There are currently no medications that can prevent the progression of mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s disease or dementia so treating at-risk patients with CPAP (oxygen treatment for sleep apnoea) is a prevention method that is worth trialling and testing. Previous research has already shown that CPAP treatment and supplemental oxygen at night slows and improves cognitive impairment in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and increases brain tissue and now this more recent research backs up these findings. Hopefully soon there will be trials to prove whether supplemental oxygen at night could be the next new treatment for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients or even those who are at risk.
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