Multiple Sclerosis And Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Is There A Link?

I participate on a medical forum called Medhelp.org, where I’m the sleep-breathing expert. I answer people’s questions on various topics related to sleep and breathing. Somehow, I stumbled onto the multiple sclerosis (MS) community and was surprised to see that many people have severe fatigue issues, cold hands and various sleep issues. Their symptoms sounded surprisingly like upper airway resistance syndrome, which I’ve described before. So I decided to take a poll: I asked three questions: 1. How many MS patients have cold hands or feet? 2. How many MS patients have one or both parents that snore heavily, and if so, what kind of medical problems do they have? And 3. What’s your favorite sleep position (back, side, or stomach)?

The answers to this informal and unscientific poll was surprisingly lopsided. Out of 36 responses, 31 people said that they had either cold hands or feet. Many had to wear socks before going to bed, but some had to kick them off later. Fifteen out of sixteen stated that a parent (usually their father) snored heavily, and many also had major heart disease. Lastly, 26/30 responded that they prefer to sleep on their sides or stomachs. Many complained of intense fatigue.

This is the exact pattern that I see in patients with upper airway resistance syndrome, where they also have cold hands or feet, has a parent that snores, and wears mittens and socks to bed. Typically one or both parents snore, and have various degrees of heart disease. As many people with UARS slowly gain weight over the years, their cold hands may get better, but they’ll slowly develop into obstructive sleep apnea.

It’s a given that both UARS and MS will have a physiologic stress response, for different reasons. This can lead to various autonomic nervous system dysfunctions, such as cold hands or feet. It’s also known that chronic low-grade physiologic stress can stimulate the immune as well as the nervous system, heightening both these systems, leading to various pain issues or autoimmune conditions. I can’t say if there’s a definite cause and effect relationship between UARS and MS, but one thing for sure is that both have problems staying in deep sleep. The only definitive way to find out is is examine these MS patients with a flexible fiberoptic camera to examine the airway.

Am I going too far with my sleep-breathing hypothesis, or could I be onto something big?

 

 

 

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33 thoughts on “Multiple Sclerosis And Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Is There A Link?

  1. I have been convinced that many of my MS symptoms are related to sleep apnea. I was surprised to find that I answer the three questions with yes, both parents (father had heart disease), and side. I would really like to find more information on this link, any studies being conducted, or any other research Dr Park has come across.

    I belong to an online MS support group and I am going to informally poll them on these same questions. Interesting!

  2. Susan,

    Take a look at my articles on the homepage, especially the one about UARS. I also posted another question on Medhelp: How often do you go to the bathroom at night? From the results so far, most have to go to the bathroom a lot. It will be interesting to see what your poll shows. Please let me know.

  3. I was just diagnosed with MS last month. I have had a cpap since 2006. I think you may have something. No one I know has MS, Im african american and 35 years old. Im obese and have 3 sisters. Dad snores and had a lung clot in 1992. Before I was diagnosed I’d wake up sometimes in the middle of the night feeling stressed. I used to take naps at work. I’d say keep looking. Something odd is up.

  4. I have obstructive sleep apnea, use oxygen at night. I have horrible nights, night
    after night, wake up all the time. frequent trips to bathroom. wake up from nightmares often. wake up with severe brain fog at times, sometimes like part
    of brain is still running sleep functions while other parts allow consciousness.
    strange sensations, like when I close eyes, like I see messed up relfections vs.
    the way it used to be when closed my eyes. I have lots of other health problems.
    chronic pain to the point where I think about suicide. do not enjoy anything anymore except good spiritual meetings. was mathematician genious years
    ago, now got fired from minimum wage watchman type of job after 2 weekends.
    applied for social security disability but got denied. think about book of Job often
    and have for years. have been through lots of rejections and deaths of loved ones. have been working on problems for years, spend huge portion of my career income on doctors, treatment, therapy, etc. etc. now age 54 and day after
    day feel bad like something major wrong.. I have been diagnosed with: Asthma, COPD, obstructive sleep apnea, diabetes, arthritis (both types), had to have all teeth pulled due to so much dental problems and infections, chronic ear trouble,
    nearly deaf in one ear after two ear operations, hearing aid doesn’t work as it
    was getting stopped up with ear wax EVERY DAY, chronic ear blockage in eustachian tubes, best ENTs never have helped, I have over 12 meds ($1,600 monthly), no taxable income right now, can not work more than maybe 10 – 15 hrs per week, chronic feet inflammation since last Dec., high bp (treated ok), hypothyroidism (still out of limit with meds so I am on new med now), heart valve leak, acid reflux, had colonoscopy w/polyp removed, had sinus surgery as was
    only breathing through one nostril, wake up at night feeling like I was nearly dead ALL THE TIME, know someone that had spouse die from sleep apnea, history of anxiety, tension and depression. severe depression often lately. 9 operations in last 18 months counting cataracts. benign tumors removed from each foot, other foot problems, pain in hips, severe but not constant, constant mod/severe pain in both shoulders and upper arms, when raise arms causes notable pain even with no weight to lift, 2 pinched nerves in neck, can’t sit in same position very long, can’t stand over 5 minutes at a time, no more than 10 min. per hour, history of anxiety attacks FROM HELL FOR SURE, use to take Zanex but was able to quit
    that med with God’s help, (it did help w/anxiety attacks but was addictive), quit drinking 25 years ago after undiagnosed hepatitus and chronic liver problems (liver okay now but sensitive to tylenol and some meds — never take strong sleeping pills but beneydrl helps get to sleep), low back pain when standing, hard to turn head left and right, atrophic changes (“mild”) from brain MRI, chronic fatigue for last 25 years, unable to keep jobs for years and now can not work,
    disability says I can do other work. WHAT WORK????? who would hire me with
    this history and current situation. Hollywood for hospital movies ??? WHAT THE FUDGE DO I DO?????? thanks

  5. For years I have experienced fatigue and found myself sleeping weekends and for long hours. In the last few years, I have experienced frequent urination both night and day. July 2009 experienced attack diagnosed as Optic Neuritis. Had 5 days of IV infusions and MRI. Was on vacation at the time. Was told to see neurologist upon return home. Had a second MRI and spinal tap with diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. I am 60 years old, white female. Damage to left eye from optic neuritis. Recently had sleep study test with diagnosis -sleep apnea. Am to have a second sleep test next week with device used. Hands or feet not cold – but the opposite. I experience hot feet and hands and all over body. Very sensitive to hot weather as well. Father snored and died of heart attack caused by atherosclerosis. Nephew (sister’s son) has sleep apnea. Other sister has fiber myralgia and has been diagnosed with sleep apnea.
    I think you may have made a connection with MS and sleep apnea that needs further research and investigation. My MRI showed lesions on my brain and spinal tap showed 5 bands of some weird name giglio something or other. Could sleep apnea/lack of oxygen cause lesions on brain and develop into MS? My symptoms slowly developed over the last 5 years which would have made me 55 – rather old to get MS. Prior to age 55, I had none of the symptoms – including snoring. I feel sleep problems may be the cause of many ills and research is very much needed to prevent and protect. Please keep up your good work. Should you need persons for study, I might be interested.

  6. My aunty has had MS for years but has just only been diagnosed with sleep apnoea and is using the CPAP. She sasys she has never felt so good in years.
    I am in the process of being diagnosed with MS and have very cold hands and feet, sleep on my side, suffer moderate fatigue but don’t think my parents snored. I wake many times in a night.

  7. Wow I just stumbled across this site while doing research on MS and sleep apnea. I have been diagnosed with both and always wondered if the sleep apnea was affecting my MS. I too wake in the morning with severe headaches, have optical neuroitis in left eye, I also suffer with brain fog. The need to sleep during the day is so strong, I have no choice but to lie down and sleep, or I will just fall asleep wherever I may be. I was once accused of being drunk when I did this at a bar and after having a glass of wine. I had to explain to them about my MS. The fatigue is debilitating. I think you are on to something and hope to hear more about these two going hand in hand.
    Thank you

  8. I think you have something here too I wish someone would do a study maybe finally getting good sleep would slow or aleviate all the horrible symptoms of MS. My mom has sleep apnea and has had heart trouble. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2004 and then when I was at the dentist last year they did a light sedation and discovered I quit breathing while sleeping. I do have several symptoms in common with my sister who has been diagnosed with MS I would not be surprised to find out she has sleep apnea as both our parents snore like banshees. I never wake up feeling refreshed and less I sleep for 10 or more hours and then I am still tired. My sister suffers from migraines constantly and for hours. She does not sleep very well either. I wonder if we caught sleep apnea sooner if we could prevent these nerve diseases in our children maybe the symptoms of sleep apnea start with puberty or something maybe there should be a screening for children every few years like vaccinations :) MS is a horrible condition to suffer with my aunt on my fathers side is dying from the side effects. They tried a medicine on my sister that did not work her lesions grew so now she is trying the shot kind surely there has to be a better way then pills if sleep apnea is linked maybe a good nights rest would help.

  9. I am 54 and was diagnosed with MS 5 years ago, I know this is late in life but my neuro say’s I have probably had it for a long time but never had any major problems to cause looking or testing for it (I have optic neuritis in left eye, this was the first indication) my 33 year old son is being tested for sleep apnea, so I found your site will researching both, WOW, I am going to ask for the test on my next appointment, I sleep for the usual 8 hours per night but if allowed I can sleep easily 12, even then I sleep again during the day, I feel like I could sleep on a concrete step if that is all that was available, I get irritated very easily, I have suffered depression and take LOVAN (2 a day) this has helped but if I miss one – well, just stay away!
    I snore, My Mum Snored like a PIG!, she died of cancer but all 5 of her SNORING BROTHERS died of Heart Attacks! am I worried? YES
    I sleep on my side, I more often than not wake with a head ache but putting more thought into it I would say it feels more like a hang over, drained, I never feel fresh.
    I used to get the cold feet, need socks thing but I have put on weight and now find myself throwing them off during the night.
    I have the memory loss thing, confusion, balance issues, speech scrambles and like another of your readers have also been thought of as Drunk ( makes one want to put a sign on their head say MS not DRUNK !!!!
    One thing that I can’t find any mention of and am getting sick of being told it’s Menopause is I sweat like I’m on fire, particuarly during the night, My Husband can even feel the heat coming off me, he has reached over and found me dripping wet ?? I thinking sleep apnea , lack of oxygen ? what do you think ?
    I was also quite a smart person once, sadly it has taken me 20 minutes to type what i could once do in 3.
    Thanks for listening

  10. Ms. Murray,

    Thanks for sharing your story. Every one of your symptoms is consistent with an untreated sleep-breathing disorder. Sweating and hot flashes at night is commonly attributed to menopause, but they can actually be neurologic (vasomotor) symptoms of untreated obstructive sleep apnea. I even have young male patients who complain of night sweats and hot flashes at night. This is due to an involuntary nervous system imbalance from progressive weight gain. Any relative change in your upper airway breathing anatomy can aggravate these neurologic symptoms. Please keep us up to date on your future findings and results after appropriate treatment.

  11. Indeed, that’s a very interesting discovery. However, without proper tests, there won’t be a way to see if the treatment for sleep apnea works at soothing some of MS patient’s symptoms. However, it would be interesting to see if MS patients who try your approach to sleep apnea are having promising results. If they do, then indeed you’re on to something big!

  12. My neurologist’s clinic referred me to check for sleep apnea. When I picked up an oxymeter, the tech there told me that although (as far as he knows) there’s no “official” connection between MS and sleep apnea, he himself does see that connection a lot. That test did show apnea but when I went for an overnight test, only “periodic leg movement disorder” showed up. (When TV ads for “restless legs syndrome” appeared, I made fun of that.) One study showed MS fatigue to be worse than w/ any other disease, including cancer, so it’d sure be nice to find the root cause of that!

  13. pwMS,

    It’s important to realize that you can stop breathing multiple times every hour and not show up as sleep apnea on a sleep study. If you wake up from deep to light sleep too quickly, it doesn’t get counted as an apnea. However, your sleep quality goes downhill and your immune and nervous systems become overly overactive. This can lead to various muscle twitches and spasms throughout the body.

  14. I have been going through medical Hell for the past 6 years. I have every symptom of MS and still no diagnosis. I am going for my 4th spinal tap and another sleep study. The last sleep study showed RLS and a possibility of either apnea or narcolepsy, so I am going to try a CPAP machine to see if it helps. I had tons of blood drawn this week and last to check Depakote levels and Iron levels all are normal. I have a lesion on my frontal lobe and problems with my left eye such as eye pain that can last a month, but, when I get MRI’s neuritis isn’t found. Been to an Opthamologist twice and there is a blind spot showing during a field test suspecting optic neuritis, but, everything else is normal. I am tired all the time, gaining weight and miserable. I get burning in my right leg and can’t move it to walk up stairs sometimes. I rely on my Belgian Malinois as a Service Dog for balance and mobility. All I want is to be diagnosed and treated with the right meds so I can feel alive again.

  15. I was diagnosed with MS 6 years ago and am about to undertake my 3rd 5 day home sleep study. My apnea gets worse on the CPAP machine. Because my apnea is considered mild (I only wake up 6-7 times an hour), the doctor doesn’t seem concerned. I’m waking up with headaches, have the cog fog to the point it’s affected my work, and would love to just sleep all day. At what point do I insist on an overnight sleep study?

  16. I did an overnight oximeter test and had 26 desaturation episodes. I was diagnosed with MS in 1992, have a very small jaw with a class III maloccusion. Was diagnosed with TMJ etc. etc. but it was the oximeter test that blew me away. I am going down to 80% oxygen at least three times an hour, average 90% oxygen over eight hours… they automatically prescribe oxygen at 88%. The more I read about hypoxia, the more I see the reason for some of the MS symptoms like purple feet. Now my hands are becoming purple also, so I assume the condition is worsening. I have been doing some home hyperbaric treatment and I’m seeing some improvement in the MS symptoms. But I have also found that simply breathing oxygen from the oxygen concentrator is also helpful. For instance, the peripheral neuropathy in my feet improves when I breathe the oxygen. I did not realize that if you have a small jaw you are far more prone to the condition of sleep apnea. Furthermore, since my jaw problem is congenital I assume that I have been having issues of oxygen deprivation for quite some time. Stupid neurologists, they never ask about any other important health issues.

  17. I am a 23 year old male and have just been diagnosed with MS. So, I am just now starting my research and searching for answers. This blog has really struck my interest and here is why!!!
    My mother is searching like crazy for answers, and this is the strongest link we have found to anything in my life that may cause this.
    I had terrible sleep apnea as a very young child, an infant mainly. I was on a machine that would beep to tell my parents if I had not taken a breath for 20 seconds and the beeping was out of control, so I hear.
    I am looking for anwers for any of this or studies that have been done. I really feel that the two things could be connected. I have places of inflamation throughout my brain and this is the only answer. As a growing infant, my oxygen and breathing was absent so much that I want to know, Is this the cause or result of having sleep apnea as a young child.

    Any help of suggestion, studies, doctors, anyhing would be great.

  18. I finally did an overnight sleep study.Well, I got a message yesterday from Medigas, the people that did my overnight sleep study saying that my doctor had approved a CPAP machine trial. It turns out I gather that my overnight sleep study showed that I am having around 12 episodes per hour! of stopping sleep… I don’t have any more details as to what oxygen level I am going down to etc. My doctor’s office must be very disorganized… I phoned to ask about the results, and they told me on the phone that everything was normal. But then Medigas phoned to tell me I have to set up an appointment to fit a mask, at a cost of $250, but I could try the CPAP machine free of charge for one month.

    So, I cannot get there until November 28, at which time I will shell out $250 for a custom-made mask, and I will try a CPAP machine for a month to see if it impacts the way I feel. But at any rate, it would appear that I do have Obstructive Sleep Apnea, although 12 episodes per hour is considered mild! Normal is under five times per hour, I don’t know what severe is. I do not think stopping breathing 12 times an hour is healthy for anyone, but I guess I have to do more research on the health effects of mild sleep apnea. I am glad I did the overnight sleep study, I had to push for further investigation, and I think that’s the whole MS diagnosis problem, that once you get labeled with that, nobody wants to look for root causes. They do know that lack of oxygen in the blood predisposes one to blood clots.

    So maybe this is part of the puzzle… it would be related to my class III maloccusion (my jaw deformity, congenital). I gather when one has this type of jaw it predisposes one to the throat collapsing. Should it help, I am looking at approximately $2300 for a CPAP machine, not covered by BC health. On the other hand, at this point I would pay anything if it positively impacted symptoms. My question is why in the hell didn’t anybody mention to me that having my type of jaw would put me at risk of sleep apnea. I even had a dentist that made me a splint in Calgary because he said I had TMJ and was grinding my teeth at night… but no mention of sleep apnea. I couldn’t stand the splint and never wore it, it made my jaw hurt so much.

  19. This is an interesting forum. As I hear my fiance snoring away I wondered to myself if his MS is somehow related to his snoring. Not sure why I was thinking that, as I’ve never researched it before, but in my mind it just makes sense. His snoring is dramatic – very very loud, and I am certain he has sleep apnea. Unfortunately his doctor advised him that if he attended a sleep study and they found that he needed a CPAP machine, that he would have to advise his car insurance company, as sleep apnea could pose the risk of on-the-road drowsiness/micro-sleeps. In any event, my fiance being my fiance, decided no thanks to the sleep lab.

    So, on he snores, and during multiple times throughout his sleep I can hear that he is breathing erratically, and therefore likely sleeping erratically. Quite honest given the loudness of his snoring, I’m surprised he can even sleep through his own snores!

    I’m really glad I came upon this website, as I can now inform him that perhaps there is somewhat of a linkage between his sleep apnea and his MS, and perhaps if he can pay more attention to his sleep apnea, that it might improve his MS symptoms. God knows, but it’s certainly worth a try.

  20. Charlene,

    If you fiancee has untreated obstructive sleep apnea, he has an increased risk of getting into a car accident, heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Once treated for sleep apnea, your risk go down and you typically don’t have to report this to your insurance company. These rules may differ depending on where you live, but all they want is to know that it’s under control.

  21. One more for statistics ! have been given a dx. of MS about 3 years ago . Now 2 weeks ago sleep study reveled severe sleep apnea both obstructive and central. and ,yes I would have answered affirmative to all 3 questions as well as frequent trips to the bath room over night long before having been diagnosed.
    as for persons who are afraid of losing their driving lic.: driving is a privilege not a right. you do not have the right to take other persons life under your control in this game of chance. i gave up driving long before anyone said ” you are NOT driving are you?” it is not convenant , but it is not worth the risk !

  22. Wow this seems to make a lot of sense for me. It answers a lot of questions.I can answer yes to all of the questions.

  23. While watching the old movie ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, I noticed actress Teri Garr’s underdeveloped jaw. I then learned that she is an MS sufferer. One has to wonder if Ms. Garr suffers from Sleep Apnea.

  24. Well it’s been a while since I posted, but I have to relay my experience in case it should help somebody else. I could not tolerate any of the plastic masks. I wear an upper denture (I am one of those with small jaw, tooth extraction history, impacted wisdom teeth etc.) and the diagnosis of primary progressive MS. I found the plastic masks unbearable, they gave me gum sores because of the pressure. Then I found a cloth mask! This thing is great and I can finally do this CPAP therapy regularly and I’m finding it wonderful. I feel like I am getting into this deep restorative sleep, I mean I go into a coma for 6-7 hours. I feel so much better during the day, more energy more strength… Even more mobility. I am in a wheelchair full-time and I notice any improvement right away. Now, my experience with this mask is recent, I’ve only used it four nights, but I went through three different plastic masks and they all were nightmares. This mask seals well and is pain-free… I have to emphasize that I went to many dentists during my life and nobody but nobody ever warned me that I was at risk of sleep apnea due to my class III malocclusion… I do have OSA, not central sleep apnea. I recently bought an oxygen concentrator and I’m going to try pumping 1.5 L through the CPAP machine to see whether that gives me further help. How can somebody be waking up every 5 min. and have no clue that it was happening??? It amazes me that I never realized I had this problem! Many people with MS seem to have a forward jutting jaw…

  25. Sorry, I should’ve mentioned that the mask is called the SleepWeaver… Canada I got it without a prescription, but I understand you need a prescription in the US.

  26. This is an incredibly interesting theory. I found this site trying to see if MSers might snore because of faulty muscles in the palate and found this site. I have swallowing issues for that same reason. Here is my story. They had suspected MS since I was in my early 40’s but i did not find an MS specialist who said yes until my 60’s. They believe I have had it for more than 20 years.
    >I have had cold hands and feet for as long as I can remember and in fact was diagnosed with Renaud’s years ago. My feet turn purple and near black they get so bad.
    >Do not know if my parents snored as they were very old fashioned private people. But my mom had severe heart problems near the end….she did live to be nearly 96…as did my Dad. And I have developed snoring and difficulty breathing during sleep to a degree that I have been told I should get a sleep study done.
    >I sleep on my side and with my head quite elevated…diagnosed with non smoker COPD years ago. COPD does have quite a frequency relationship with MS.
    >Wake up every 2 to 3 hours to go to the bathroom at night. If I am on an antibiotic can sleep longer. But what wakes me…I have no urinary urge any more…is burning feet, sweating and a massive headache. Tried for years to find a common denominator of those symptoms and finally just recently found autonomic dysreflexia as a close match. Have yet to check my blood pressure during these waking moments or mention it to a doctor.
    I have 4 children all of them with varying degrees of fatigue issues. Youngest was diagnosed with heart abnormalities and CFS but seems to have outgrown both. My two oldest…one with apnea…have symptoms so close to mine I will be surprised if they are not MS diagnosed at some point. Worry for all of them as I believe this is all getting handed down to them genetically. Hope this relationship theory is still getting pursued.

  27. Hi – I was diagnosed with sleep apnoea a few years ago at the age of 50 but it turns out I have been suffering airway failure all of my life. The diagnosis and the CPAP machine transformed my life. I am also a Pemphigus vulgaris (grim auto-immune blistering disease) sufferer. I ended up here because I am having MS type symptoms and suddenly a few things are beginning to make sense.

    If you have any problem at all with sleep you must seek medical advice. There are many kinds of sleep problems so do not assume you have sleep apnoea but all sleep problems will compromise your health, wellbeing and relationships. You need to know that we all adapt to adversity and that things like sleep apnoea, and auto-immune diseases, often develop in small increments. You can adapt yourself all the way to death’s door before acknowledging that you need expert health care. Sleep apnoea tends to manifest itself in your life as inexplicable tiredness and nodding off. You usually don’t know that you are suffering from sleep deprivation. You can even be under the illusion that you are sleeping well. I rationalised my problem as a symptom of approaching old age.

    In the case of sleep apnoea the things to look out for are – snoring, waking from sleep and naps with headaches, falling asleep against your will: during the day, at the cinema, at the theatre, in meetings, whenever you sit down to read or watch tv etc. You can even be so tired you fall asleep talking to people, doing your job, driving, I saw one undiagnosed sufferer fall asleep on his feet at work and keel over. When things became really bad I was drifting seamlessly and uncontrollably from a waking state to a dream state and back again.

    If you have someone else in the bedroom they may tell you that you snore loudly and then that you become alarmingly silent. Sometimes, as the condition worsens, the cessation of breathing is followed by convulsions as the carbon dioxide builds up in your lungs. The convulsing is your body’s response to get you breathing again for a while. It is often the case that you the sufferer are unaware of any of this. The sleep clinic found that I was stopping breathing 48 times an hour. I had no idea.

    A classic psychological trick that sleep apnoea sufferers play on themselves is to go to bed very late. Thus you give yourself and the world a reason for being so tired all of the time. I suspect that what is really going on is that the unconscious mind is putting off the unpleasant torture of hours of suffocation. Another thing to look out for is being drawn to eating far too many calories and craving energy rich and fatty foods because the body is trying to understand its exhaustion as being caused by a lack of fuel. The cruel irony here is that as you put on weight the sleep apnoea becomes aggravated. Sleep clinics pay attention to your weight, your neck measurement, and your most embarrassing statistic – your full girth.

    I was struggling for years feeling exhausted and managing all of my available energy for my job. Weekends and evenings I stayed at home too tired to do anything.

    If any of this sounds familiar you need to sort it out quickly. The CPAP treatment is excellent in that it brings instant beautiful results that far outweigh the initial discomfort. Using it quickly becomes as natural as breathing. To get that first proper sleep in years, or decades, is a personal miracle.

    I have several apparently unconnected things wrong with me. I ended up on this page as I am exploring my intuition that all of my problems link up to a common source. Sadly the doctors I have access to on the NHS seem to have no mechanism for joining things up. All of the illnesses are treated as discrete phenomena. I tried telling my pemphigus doctor about the numbness and tingling in my foot and it was dismissed as irrelevant. I developed increasing bouts of optic nerve pain and cluster headaches and this was dealt with in minutes by a neurologist who prescribed a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory and sent me away. I had to see a colo-rectal specialist who could talk about the need for a haemorrhoids operation but did not begin to consider underlying causes. Suddenly I heard an actor, Jim Sweeney, talking about his MS and all of the bells started ringing: I had thought I was losing control of my legs and falling over because of the PV medication. So wish me luck as I now try to get any of these hubristic experts to join the dots. I hope I do not have MS but it sure ties together a lot of loose ends in my life. I am guessing that sleep apnoea might well be caused by neural damage associated with MS or something in the auto-immune disease matrix.

  28. I have UARS & use CPAP
    I always have cold hands and feet.
    I always sleep on my side or on my stomach.
    My Dad snored.
    I do not have MS……but I have 2 sisters that do.
    We all had same beginning symptom….Optic neuritis…..blindness in one eye.
    I have Extreme fatigue (excessive daytime sleepiness). Whatever.
    Taking 20 mg of dextroamphetamine at 8am, 10 am and one 10 mg at noon to get through work day, after 1 pm I am screwed, hard to talk, think and drive. No life after 5 pm.
    Last couple years have been under lots of stress.
    Body hurts, and ALWAYS feel like I have heavy weights attached to legs.
    I’m 44, female, about 120 lbs. and sad.
    Sister thinks MS
    Going to neurologist and have another sleep study, both within next couple weeks.

    Someone Please acknowledge

  29. My MS specialist and I narrowed it down to 1997 when I first presented that I can remember. An entire year of vertigo, saying the word and typing it makes me want to vomit….I have so much trouble swallowing, I must chew my food at least 10 chews I count them and always take my time….Or I’m in trouble! I’m a 52 year old female. I SNORE like a freight train. Its really embrrassing, I feel like I can no longer sleep anywhere but my home..I spent 18 days with my daughter and her family recently to help out with the older children and, with the new baby, and was sadden to learn that I kept my son-in-law awake due to my LOUD snoring one night….

    I have even changed where I sleep in my own home as to not disturb my husbands sleep. I’ve spoken to my General Practioner, but to no avail have I’ve gotten any help. I do have cold hands sometimes, but always freezing feet, and must always sleep in the daytime, sometimes up too 3 hours….What are we to do? My niece also is afflicted with MS, as is my Uncle, and I believe my sister also who is in denial….Thank you!

  30. Tamara,

    From what you’re telling me, it sounds like classic obstructive sleep apnea. It’s always best to see a sleep doctor for an evaluation and testing. Good luck.