Seizures sleep apnea:- are seizures and sleep apnea linked?
Myles asks regarding seizures sleep apnea and the link between them.
I am 39 years of age. 7 years ago I had a seizurein my sleep. I had an MRI, an EEG, a Sleep-deprived EEG, all were clear. The neurologist recommended no action but he suggested that I was to go in for a further consultation if it reoccurred.
Over a year later, I had another seizure in my sleep. The neurologist, a different one, recommended Dilantin. No other determination of the underlying cause was suggested. I decided against taking the medication.
The frequency of the seizures increased. At one point I had 2 in one week, but in general they were approximately once a month (all of the seizures that I have had were in my sleep). I saw yet another neurologist who again suggested dilantin. During this time I was constantly tired and my wife noticed that I stopped breathing in my sleep. I told this to the neurologist and he said that i was “not fat enough” to have sleep apnea. Dilantin disoriented me. I found it difficult to concentrate and found that I forgot what I had said minutes before. He suggested changing the dose.
I saw my 4th neurologist. I brought my wife with me. He again ignored the problem of breathing in my sleep and suggested changing medication to depakote and suggested an Insomnia Therapy course.
The psychologist at the course phoned my neurologist when she heard my wife describe my sleep problem. Due to her intervention, a sleep study was ordered. I have mild apnea and frequent arousals due to snoring.
I was put on a CPAP. After about 4 months, I found a CPAP/mask combination that I could tolerate (at the time I was a mouth breather, and the first CPAP malfunctioned - the pressure rose to 24 when I was awake, the technician’s response when I said that I woke in pain and could hardly walk was “it takes time to get used to these machines”).
With the full face mask I was still snoring. The seizure frequency reduced to one every six months but I was still constantly tired.
The seizures had damaged my teeth and a rapid palatal expansion was recommended to fix my cross bite. I found that I could breathe through my nose. I changed mask to a nasal mask and that cured the snoring problem. I was still constantly tired but the seizures stopped.
A year and a quarter later, I found that the CPAP was at the wrong setting (it was still set for a full face mask). I found out about this randomly online. I phoned my clinician and he said it would make no difference. I phoned the maker of the CPAP, resmed, and they said that it would (different leak compensations for different masks). They explained how to change the settings.
Since then I have been sleeping like a log and my concentration has improved tremendously. Also, hair is now growing on my stomach and legs (at 39 I am having my second bout of puberty).
I read some journal articles about sleep and seizures and contacted one of the researchers who recommended yet another neurologist. My insurance company has refused to pay for this consultation.
My questions relating to seizures sleep apnea are these: Can sleep deprivation on its own cause seizures (i.e. is the mechanism that causes seizures known not to be related to sleep?)? Also, what is the relationship between body hair and sleep (is this relationship in any way related to the mechanism that causes seizures)? What is the relationship between depakote and dilantin and sleep? Finally, is not automatic (or at least typical) that when a patient mentions seizures sleep apnea issues a sleep study is performed?
Thank you in advance!