According to a recent study, the fatigue that leads to disability in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients may not be due to MS itself, but to obstructive sleep apnea that is secondary to the condition. It’s possible that sleep apnea treatment may help MS patients to achieve a higher quality of life and greater productivity.

Fatigue in MS Patients

Fatigue is very common in MS patients, with perhaps 80% of MS sufferers reporting chronic fatigue. Chronic fatigue is the number one reason why people with MS leave the workforce.

Although previous research has linked fatigue in MS to sleeping problems, such as bladder spasms or other unwanted muscle contractions, there has been little research into the link between MS and sleep apnea.

Analyzing Sleep Apnea and Fatigue

In this study, researchers gave a sleep apnea screening test (STOP-BANG) to 195 MS patients, 41 of whom had been previously diagnosed with sleep apnea. The questionnaire showed that 110 patients, including 38 of those who had already been diagnosed with sleep apnea, were at an elevated risk for sleep apnea.

When they compared data for the population, they found that scores on the STOP-BANG test and other nocturnal symptoms were the highest predictors for fatigue levels in patients, leading them to conclude that sleep apnea was an underrecognized cause of fatigue for MS patients.

Sleep Apnea and Chronic Health Problems

Sleep apnea is commonly associated with a number of chronic health problems, such as diabetes, heart problems, mood disorders, and more. It’s hard to know the causal relationship between some of these conditions, but it is known that sleep apnea treatment can improve the quality of life for sufferers, resulting in less daytime sleepiness, less moodiness, and less fatigue.

If you want to learn more about sleep apnea treatment options, please call (303) 691-0267 at the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado in Denver today.