Sleep apnea and peripheral neuropathy
I'm a 65 year old female, very active and not obese.
Everyone complained of my loud snoring so I went to see an ear, nose and throat specialist who examined me and found nothing abnormal.
Because I insisted he sent me to a sleep clinic and there I was diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea.
I tried using the CPAP machine for several months but couldn't tolerate it.
I ended up with severe sinusitis and bleeding from the nose on a couple of occasions. I decided to stop using the CPAP. I am wearing nightly a TSD (tongue stabilizing device) since 15 months and it seems to be working. No sinusitis or nose bleeds, however since 4 months I started having numbness in my toes and feet.
I was sent to a neurologist by my family doctor and the diagnostic of symmetrical axonal peripheral neuropathy was made after a thorough neurological examination was done. My family physician has done a battery of tests and MRIs and everything is normal.
I'm not diabetic, thyroid, liver and kidney functions are normal, there's no vitamin deficiencies or toxicity, My family physician told me that one study was done about 3 years ago and it showed that sleep apnea can cause peripheral neuropathy.
Do you know anything about this and if so, will wearing the CPAP machine change this diagnostic ?
The deficient oxygenation of the blood due to obstructive sleep apnea, also called hypoxaemia, can be a risk factor for axonal peripheral neuropathy.
So, if your oxygen blood level is below 90% for many nights (due to apnea episodes), you are at risk of damaging the nerve function.
Here is a link to the study about Axonal neuropathy in obstructive sleep apnea
Are you taking magnesium supplements? If not, you may want to try, since magnesium deficiency is associated with neuropathy, muscle twitches, etc. Vitamin B supplements may also help (B12- methylcobalamin is the best form; and B-6, taken with the B-12 as taking it separately from B-12 can cause nervousness).
But speak with your doctor before taking these supplements.
I heard that Alpha Stim Therapy can also help improve peripheral neuropathy, but it will not help if you have a permanent nerve damage.
The same with CPAP therapy. CPAP or TSD should help you to breathe during sleep, but with a permanent nerve damage, you will still have numbness in your toes and feet.
I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back. Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide