Parkinson's Movement
12,429 members11,045 posts


I strongly recommend that all you PDers get tested for sleep apnea. In apnea, one stops breathing during sleep for a short time, thereby depriving the body of much needed oxygen. It can be the cause or a contribution to a lot of serious conditions.

Apnea is divided into two parts, obstruction (where tongue, sinuses, etc. interfere with breathing in a lying down position and central apnea where the brain doesn't send proper signals to the muscles telling you to breathe. Seems PDers might be vulnerable on both counts. There aren't a lot of studies on a connection but just think about it. The parkinsons foundation suggest that perhaps 40% of PDers have apnea. When is the last time your doctor suggested getting tested for it in spite of the fact that you are fatigued during the day (that's just PD, don't you know) or that you pee too frequently during the night (also just PD, don't you know) or that your vascular system isn't doing so well? My guess is NEVER!

One does NOT have to snore to have apnea. One does not have to be fat to have apnea. The initial test is overnight finger monitor.

Strongly suggest you all download the free book called Sleep, Interrupted by Steve Park, MD. Easy to read and well worth it.

Get tested. Good if you don't have it but if you do, there is help for you. The new masks are loads better than the old ones and covered by insurance. They record wirelessly and you can check your improvement on your computer each day to know what adjustments you need to make. Just using oxygen doesn't do it...air pressure is required.

3 Replies

I have a cpap and recommend it. I stopped using it about a year ago because it became very hard to get a good seal. It would seem that I lost about 20 lbs and my face thinned out. I also quit using alcohol to put me to sleep so my face thinned out more. I need to be retested and refitted but I highly recommend it.


CPAP was shown in a study to help.

The full text is available.

I've mentioned this a couple of times before, theorizing that the lack of dopamine suppresses the breathing response, leading to reduced sleep, reduced REM sleep, and thereby making the days less "focused" and generally a little more miserable. Hyperbaric oxygen chambers also help, which is why I've played with hanging upside down twice a day for 4 minutes. The reduced oxygen might cause the mitochondria to utilize non-oxygen energy production that is less efficient which may help the a-syn to accumulate and spread more rapidly.

1 like

Hello, and thanks for this post. I still have mixed feelings about my apnea which was diagnosed as mild about a year ago (initially with the at home evaluation). I was concerned that even though mild, it could add to my PD progression, so invested in a Cpap and used for about 6 months. It did not help my sleep and though it wasn't that bad to use, the whole routine was a lot to deal with (traveling, etc). Then I decided to invest in a more complete "in the lab" sleep study and the results were the same. The sleep apnea doctor said Cpap wasn't necessary for my mild apnea, but certainly couldn't hurt! But I decided to stop when I heard his comment. I haven't used for 4-5 months now and my sleep has been much better. Not sure what my thoughts are about need for this and impact on PD progression.


You may also like...