Fluid retention and sleep apnea?

by Mike

I have been having problems feeling like I can't get enough air during the day.

I went to the ER and a sleep study was prescribed.

I had my first one, and the nurse stated that my oxygen went down to 70% which isn't good.

The Dr. showed me the results of the first study and it showed 126 apnea episodes, 101 were central apnea and the rest were obstructive.

I’m very scared because I feel like I don’t get enough air now when I'm awake, but my o2 stays around 94 to 96 when I'm having these episodes.

I have gained a lot of weight, and the Dr thinks its fluid caused by my heart working harder due to the apnea.

So my question is can I get fluid build up and still have a healthy heart, and what is going to happen with me because it says everywhere that central is caused by some major illness so I'm just really scared.

My Dr acts like it is no big deal. Please help me.


It seems to me that you have mixed sleep apnea, where the central apneas are the most evident.

The CPAP therapy is most helpful for obstructive apnea, but for central and mixed apneas you need a new device called adaptive servo-ventilation or ASV.

This article will explain more about this device.

About your fluid build up, or edema... It's true that you can have edema due to heart problems. Patients with untreated sleep apnea can have this problem, and I would recommend visiting a cardiologist to figure out exactly the cause of your edema.

This fluid retention is a symptom of arrhythmia, which is a sign of cardiac problems. I can also be due to renal problems. Both cardiac and renal problems are strongly linked to untreated sleep apnea, and can even be the start of congestive heart failure.

So, if you really have built up of fluids, you need to see a cardiopulmonary specialist. You may receive a prescription for a diuretic, like Lasix, to get the excess fluid out of your body, and to reduce the blood pressure and stress to your heart.

Also, some medications can cause fluid retention; Neurotin is one and I believe Lyrica is another that can cause edema plus some antidepressants and other medications. Apparently, limb edema is a side effect of the Mirapex, so that may be a consideration for you too.

If you have a healthy heart, then maybe you gained weight, and not necessarily from fluid retention. Patients with sleep apnea tend to be overweight. Please read the article about sleep apnea and obesity to learn more.

Central sleep apnea can be caused by a host of different things, such as:
  • injury of the upper spinal cord

  • opioid medications

  • some neurological diseases or conditions

  • congestive heart failure (CHF)

  • or ideopathic causes, which mean obscure or unknown causes.

So, Mike, you don't need to have something terrible damaged in your brain to have central sleep apnea. Some people have it without explanation.

But you have to be scared of the side effects of untreated sleep apnea if you don't get a good treatment. That shortness of breath that you have in the morning could be a sign of problems to your heart, but I hope I'm mistaken.

The load on your heart is greater when you are up and moving around, therefore the breathing problems upon awakening.

Congratulation for your sleep study! You are closer than ever to get a good treatment. If the doctor is not interested in your problems, then find another one.

Good luck!

Here's some of my more popular pages:

I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.

Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide

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Jul 22, 2016
SoB and Fluid retention
by: sleepy in Indiana

I have been told by a Lung doctor that I have fluid built up waist down to ankles. they are thinking this is due to sleep apnea.

I have had soa for over a year now. first I was diagnosised with Asthma, she put me on 2 inhalers and singular that do not help so she sent me to the lung doctor who says he does not think it is asthma, all tests so far prove it is not. he said he would either be heart, lungs or sleep apnea.

I have had two chest xrays,oximetry which was fine, stress echo and an ultrasound/Doppler of my heart which all are fine. I do not feel that this is due to sleep apnea.

I think the fluid has been causing the soa. I don't wake up gasping for air. I sleep good when I go to bed. I have had a at home sleep study that was fine. Lung doctor says it showed I stopped breathing twice an hour. I hear this is a very mild case.? next week I am having the in house sleep study.

I am very weak, tired from just trying to get air. I am worried something else is wrong. why aren't they doing a CT of my abdomen? I feel pressure up against my upper right side. my abdomen swells up at night and and seems to go down some in the morning. please help, I feel like this has gone on way too long.

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