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

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Nov 18, 2012
anything to do cmt type 1
by: April

I have charcot Marie tooth disease that has caused related Neropathy . I also just diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea and severe central sleep apnea. the sleep doctor said that I have had this for years and not know about it. could this have anything to do with the charcot Marie tooth disease and the Neropathy that has been caused from it.

Aug 25, 2017
CPAP and Burning Neuropathy
by: Anonymous

Wow, would I like to talk with that woman...wonder how her neuropathy is after having been without a cpap machine for some time?

Aug 19, 2018
I have had sleep apnea for 10 years untreated.
by: Lawrence Foster

Prior to being diagnosed with Sleep Apnea I suffered with Idopathic Neuropathy. I also suffer from Closterphobia . Wearing the mask is very difficult for me.

The Neuropathy is mainly from my knees down t me feet. I am losing the ability to walk and I have falls all the time. When I wake up in the morning the Neuropathy is the worst of all. I have fallen and have a fracture that was not treated by a orthopedic surgeon therefore the foot is severely deformed. The Neuropathy causes severe pain from the knees down to the feet.

I have now in the passed month began using the C-PAP machine and I am seeing some results of the pain being less severe. I want to know if my Blood Oxygen levels suffer the most while I sleep there for m question is is a low oxygen level causing the pain in my Lower legs,

Oct 13, 2019
Neuropathyand sleep apnea
by: Charlie

I have had both sleep apnea and idiopathic peripheral neuropathy in my feet for several years. I have been on a CPAP machine for several years and am very compliant. My neuropathy does not usually bother me during the day, but after I go to sleep (with the CPAP on) I wake up with burning pain in my feet. Obviously there is a connection. It is interesting that none of the doctors I have seen about this, including my sleep specialist, has ever mentioned to me a possible connection. Any suggestions as to how I can get more oxygen to my feet when I am sleeping will be appreciated. Do I need to have the CPAP machine recalibrated to be stronger?

Jun 29, 2022
OSA and neuropathy
by: Anonymous

I have had severe neuropathy myself before being diagnosed, I have come across articles about osa being a independent risk factor but when I talk to my neurologist they say it’s not possible.

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