If you have fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), it’s essential to be aware that you might also be experiencing breathing problems while you sleep. They go hand in hand — sleep apnea is a considering factor for fibromyalgia, and fibromyalgia can increase the chance of sleep apnea. When sleep apnea is left untreated in a patient with fibromyalgia, they can experience worsening FMS symptoms.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Those suffering from sleep apnea find themselves struggling to breathe numerous times a night. This happens because their soft palate and tongue collapse, which blocks the throat and leaves the patient gasping for air. Often, the individual doesn’t even know they are experiencing cessations in breathing throughout the night, which leaves them with poor quality sleep. As a result, the patient feels unrested and lethargic.
Most patients diagnosed with sleep apnea have a condition known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). When patients with OSA stop breathing, their blood oxygen levels stop, their heartbeats quicker, and their bodies react to begin breathing again. Along with feeling tired and experiencing headaches, obstructive sleep apnea can lead to severe health conditions like stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression.
The Connection Between Fibromyalgia and Sleep Apnea
If you have fibromyalgia, there is a chance you are also dealing with sleep apnea. However, the reason for the connection between these two conditions is relatively unknown. It’s believed sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea can lead to the development of fibromyalgia in the patient.
Common Symptoms of Fibromyalgia and Sleep Apnea
Because fibromyalgia and sleep apnea have some similar systems, detecting the condition can become more difficult. Here are a few of the common symptoms that you should be aware of:
- Lack of concentration
- Mood swings
While there are multiple similar symptoms, there are a few sleep apnea symptoms that don’t overlap with fibromyalgia:
- Dry mouth
- Gasping or choking
- High blood pressure
If you have fibromyalgia and are exhibiting any of these symptoms, you should get a sleep study to determine if you’re also dealing with obstructive sleep apnea.
How AutoPAP Treatment Can Help
To help combat the blockage in the patient’s throat caused by the muscles collapsing, a doctor will often recommend AutoPAP therapy as a treatment. AutoPAP is an innovative positive airway pressure (PAP) machine that works by sensing the vibrations in the individual’s upper airway to detect any disturbances in their breathing.
If the machine detects sleep disturbances like snoring or hypopneas, the AutoPAP breathing machine increases the air pressure delivered until these disturbances are eliminated. As a result, the patient’s breathing remains normal throughout the night regardless of their sleeping position or sleep cycle.
If diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, your physician will direct you to a provider such as ApneaMed to provide you with the breathing equipment you need. The AutoPAP machine will be fit for the individual and worn as a mask as they sleep to provide the air pressure they need. Remember, fibromyalgia can make wearing the mask uncomfortable if you suffer from jaw or face pain, but your doctor can help you find a solution. If sleep apnea is left untreated, it can lead to heightened health risks with your fibromyalgia.
If you’re dealing with fibromyalgia and suspect you have sleep apnea, take a home sleep apnea test to confirm your diagnosis. Once diagnosed, ApneaMed can provide the breathing equipment that you need to get a sound night’s sleep. Contact ApneaMed with any questions.