Parkinson's Movement
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Sleep tight!

Subject:. Sleep apnea

I went recently to be tested for apnea and when I asked the doc how long I would have to use the mask, his reply was that once you have it, you always have it. I thought about that comment later with reference to my PD husband who was diagnosed years ago (pre-PD dx) after a hospital lab test. after three months of using the mask, he stopped using it . In retrospect that was a really bad idea but in those young days, he thought he was immortal!

Since he has so much trouble sleeping and I see that other PD folks write about the same difficulty - I always thought it was either the PD itself or a side effect of the meds or both. Now I am not so sure that is the only problem.

The first problem we faced in doing a current test was that one must be asleep in order to do the preliminary test. gave him 800mg valerian extract and got him to sleep (finally!).

We got the preliminary finger monitor study (very easy) and went yesterday to hear the results. He had 382 breathing events during the four hours they were able to get on the monitor (it got misplaced during the night so only registered about half the time). His oxygen level dropped to a low of 75% with a count of 42.3 Oxygen drops per hour.

That means he has severe central sleep apnea.

He will now go overnight into a sleep lab to get more specifics... What part of the events are due to uncontrollable causes and what part can be corrected.

I am giving you these details so you will see how harmful disrupted sleep can be and to encourage you to rule apnea out as a possible malefactor by being tested.

The doctor originally told me in my appointment that apnea causes or contributes to all sorts of problems down the road, not just sleeplessness or fatigue. He expects in Don's case, that combining the apnea mask with the oxygen he already takes for his heart, it will help with the heart failure. It makes me wonder if the untreated apnea was a cause in the failure in the first place.

Think about it...a drop in oxygenation of the tissues multiple times while trying to get rejuvenating sleep....that can't be good! Actually, it is terrible.

So if you have sleep problems and/or fatigue or (surprise!) wake up to pee frequently, perhaps apnea is a problem.

I found a free book by Steven Park MD which can be downloaded to kindle. Going to read it now and report back.

Oh, ugg...the first two paragraphs hooked me.

5 Replies
oldestnewest the book. VERY INFORMATIVE and I recognized a lot of problems we have had. Considering the fatigue and sleep problems a lot of PDers have I don't know why testing for apnea isn't a regular part of a therapy plan.


I'm learning the Buteyko breathing method. Dr Buteyko's theory was that we over breathe allowing vital CO2 to escape before its done an important job - getting the oxygen from the blood to the cells and vital organs.

He even listed PD as caused by hyperventilation...


Please keep us informed Dap 1948.

It goes against conventional theory that if that CO2 is ellimated from the bloodstream it can't perform a function. It is a waste product of metabolism and is eliminated by breathing. The body is very good at regulating the blood gasses and unless there is a lung or circulation problem it happens automatically. That's why people with sleep apnoea wake so frequently, their body wakes them up to start their breathing again.

I have not seen any other evidence to back up the speculation that hyperventilation causes Parkinson's.

Good luck with the therapy.

1 like

You may be interested in this -

and this


This method of breathing is used very successfully for asthma but is beneficial for everyone I believe.

I'm only two months into my practice of it. My teacher says 'give it six months at least'. Already my eczema has nearly gone and I've a lot more energy! I will keep going!


Had my CPAP machine for about a month now. Still getting adjusted to it. Starting to not be as sleepy during the day.


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