can sleep apnea cause seizures?

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can sleep apnea cause seizures?

Postby lms224 » Thu Jul 06, 2006 5:22 pm

MY two year old has had two episodes of seizure activity recently...that I know of. Both times were upon waking. I haven't had him tested yet for s.a. but would almost bet he has it. It seems coincidental that both siezures were in bed.
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Postby Brian » Thu Jul 06, 2006 5:32 pm

I had episodes that my nuerologist called seizures before I was diagnosed and treated for OSA. However I must point out that mine where of a very mild nature and you would never know they were happening if I didn't tell you. What would happen to me is I would see a bright light in my head and hear a loud buzzing noise as if I were getting an electrical shock. They happened anytime, not just when lying down. My neuro feels they were due to oxygen deprivation. During my first sleep study my O2 levels got down to 70% and I rarely got above 80% while sleeping. I would certainly try to get the little guy tested. I hope everything works out well for him (and you).


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Re: can sleep apnea cause seizures?

Postby mcdougp » Tue Oct 02, 2007 10:32 am

lms224 wrote:MY two year old has had two episodes of seizure activity recently...that I know of. Both times were upon waking. I haven't had him tested yet for s.a. but would almost bet he has it. It seems coincidental that both siezures were in bed.


My 8 year old son has had several seizures over the past 6 months. Always occurs awakening from sleep. Symptoms are uncontrollable shaking, wind/flatulence, absent, reserved and pale. Episodes last approx 3 to 5 minutes and he has no recollection post episode.

How did you get on with your 2yo? Are your symptoms the same?
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Postby sleepy'smom » Wed Dec 26, 2007 10:44 pm

My six year old began having seizures in his sleep two years ago....always grand mal, usually very confused, bed wet, etc....no recollection of it the next day, just VERY tired.....the neurologist said it was due to some kind of "mis-firing" of his brain between phases of sleep. Apnea was never mentioned though. We only found out about the apnea when he began being sooooo terribly tired all day, that the neuro thought his seizures had worsened....he ordered the sleep study, and the apnea was discovered.....he's had tonsils and adenoids out, with no inprovement in apnea...now on CPAP for nearly a month with good results... I haven't noticed ANY seizures.....So, I'd definitely ask if there is a possibility of apnea, and request an overnight sleep study...good luck
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Postby hopefloats91976 » Tue Dec 09, 2008 2:09 am

My husband has sleep apnea and he to has seizures while sleeping (grand mal) they are always while he is sleeping or early morning (6:00) right before we should be waking up for work.
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Postby barnesmt. » Mon Mar 09, 2009 3:04 pm

i have a 7 month old newphew with seizers and central apnea his lung doctors told us that the apnea would not cause the seizurs but my nephers does the same thing when any time he wakes up he has seizure activity i hope that is some help
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Postby Vicki » Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:44 pm

Apneas can cause seizures in people who are sensitive to them, but it may be that your son's seizures are due to something else.

I do not know when apnea related seizures occur (during sleep, upon awakening, etc). When my daughter was 6 months to 18 months old (she is 16 now so I have a hard time remembering) she had seizure-like activity upon awakening. We had her evaluated and were told that that kind of seizure was fairly common and simply due to her neurological system not being quite mature enough. She did develop out of them.

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Postby ApneaKiwi » Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:57 pm

various people in my family have epilepsy - some are affected only when they are asleep (nocturnal epilepsy). unless it's been confirmed as something a young child will grow out of, it should be evaluated by a neurologist and treated. i am thinking of one of my relatives, now an adult, who started having seizures quite young, and needs medication. a syndrome of having seizures can also result from head injury or stroke. i read somewhere recently that 30% of people with epilepsy have sleep apnea... although this may have been referring to adults. sorry, i don't have time to track back to where i read this. an epilepsy foundation or education site would probably confirm it. some people might think that nocturnal epilepsy is not as bad as daytime epilepsy, but it causes all kinds of problems, including feeling awful the next day, severe headaches, sometimes bedwetting and the risk of injury to self or spouse, and often mouth injuries such as painful bites to the cheek or tongue. better to get it controlled with medication IMO.
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Postby TiffanyAcuff » Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:57 pm

Sleep apnea does NOT cause seizures. Seizures can be a cause of apnea, though. This is why when they do a sleep study, they monitor very specific areas of the brain for seizure activity. This is NOT a full EEG, but will give them information about whether the apnea and seizure activity correspond to one another.

Seizures that are associated with apnea most often occur during times of arousal, both during the night and upon waking in the morning.

Our son, who is nearly 3 years old and has "Unresolved Primary Apnea of Infancy", has zero seizure activity in the areas of the brain associated with sleep disturbances, but is suspected to have absence seizures. He has central sleep apnea.

Central sleep apnea happens when the brain either tells the body to stop breathing to protect itself from some sort of aspiration or actually forgets to tell the body to breathe for no apparent reason at all. Isaac has the latter. The former one is most often associated to reflux and/or seizures, simply because the brain thinks that there is danger of aspiration (tongue, acid, etc...) and tells the body to stop breathing until the danger has passed. These most often appear as "Mixed apnea" or as an obstructive apnea followed by a central apnea event. It can also show up as a hypopnea (shallow breathing) and then fully manifest as a central apnea.

I hope this helps shed some light on the link between seizures and apnea.

Tiffany....Mom to one awesome nearly 3 year old, who can't remember to breathe when he sleeps...and to baby #2 due any day now and slated to be born peacefully at home!
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Postby MotherWhimsey » Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:16 pm

My son has only had seizures while asleep or upon waking. I don't think it is at all related to sleep apnea. From what I understand there are certain kinds of seizures that are just more common right upon waking up.
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To Tiffany

Postby John32 » Fri May 22, 2009 6:34 am

Hey Tiffany:

I just read your thread and I felt so identified with it. I see a lot of similar symptoms to mine in your sons case (Central and obstructive apnea, seizures). If you culd please p m me and perhaps I could ask you more questions... Also, as another lady said in this same forum, I also see a bright image and feel an electrical shock when I have these jerks/seizures. To this lady: could you also write please? Thanks,

John.
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Postby barnesmt. » Fri May 22, 2009 10:03 am

hey yeah feel free to ask me anything i will answer the best that i can
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Questions to Tiffany

Postby John32 » Sat May 23, 2009 12:20 pm

Tiffany:

I`m so glad I found you.

I have many questions. First of all, what are absence seizures? Are they seizures during sleep or awake? Are sleep seizures related to epilepsy or not necesarely? Are they the same as sleep jerks when you`re drifting off to sleep or waking up, or the sleep apnea micro awakenings during sleep?

I have these jerks or little jumps a lot, specially when I`m very sleep deprived (because of my not controlled complex apnea ) during my drifting off to sleep. . I also have them throughout the night (micro awakenings?) which I think is what makes my sleep so poor. I wake up exhausted in the mornings.

I also have what I`ve come to learn is a chronic acid reflux case. I had the fundoplication done and still have it. I`ve even had severe shortness of breath in the daytime from this. I`ve also felt central apneas in my sleep (literally felt I stop breathing, no obstructive) during drowsiness or light sleep, waking up very scared, out of breath and with my heart rasing (this is without CPAP).

You metion reflux possibly causing central sleep apnea (the brain telling the body it`s not safe to breath). This totally makes sense to me, and I never heard it befote. Where did you learn all this? With your sleep doctor at your sleep clinic or are you a respiratory technician.? Is your son properly treated? Is he sleeping with a CPAP? How did they find he has the central sleep apnea that particullary is the one where the brain forgets to send the breathing signal to the body? Your son doesn`t have reflux? Have they considered taking his tonsils/adenoids out? Is he on CPAP? I hope he`s doing fine.

My new sleep doctor tells me I have to take another sleep study because all the previous one`s results show a different thing. So it`s inconclusive. I don`t desaturate, but have a lot of awakenings and hypopneas. Don`t you have to desaturate to have obstructive sleep apnea? What are hypopneas anyway? You say it`s the same as complex? My doctor tells me hypopneas are obstructive. Knowing which one I have is important to me cause I`m considering surgery. I wanna help myself in every way. She also says she has to find out if my awakenings (jumps/seizures?) are sleep apnea related or not. What if they`re not? Would this mean that I might have a neurological disorder?

Can sleep jerks while drifting off to sleep be caused by sleep deprivation anxiety (which I have)? Can the ones Turing sleep be caused by what I think it is a very small awakening threshold caused by cpap pressure, snoring anda ir swallowing? Is there a drug to be less sensitive to these and have a deeper sleep while on cpap?

You also mentinon central sleep apnea being also caused by sizures. I don`t understand this. How can seizures cause central sleep apnea? My logic tells me lack of air (central sleep apnea) causes a seizure or awakening. Am I too wrong here?

This is the part you wrote that I don`t get: “These most often appear as "Mixed apnea" or as an obstructive apnea followed by a central apnea event. It can also show up as a hypopnea (shallow breathing) and then fully manifest as a central apnea.” And I want to understand it, cause I wanna get a thorough sleep study this time to see if I can finally get proper treatment.

Finally, I have a girlf friendo who has an 8 months doughter. The baby has sleep apnea supposedly from lack of brain maturity/developement. Is this central? I think my friend said they checked her throat and it was fine. She says doctor says apnea Could go on its own as the baby grows up and her brain matures. Is this the right treatment? Can a baby this young use CPAP already?

Can sleep apnea and reflux be hereditary? Is my central sleep apnea supposed to improve if I have my acid reflux under control?

Thank you and sorry for this long thread with so many questions. I`ll apreciate any help.

John Serrano.
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Re: Questions to Tiffany

Postby TiffanyAcuff » Wed May 27, 2009 8:02 pm

John32 wrote:Tiffany:

I`m so glad I found you.

I have many questions. First of all, what are absence seizures? They are spells of "day dreaming". You will typically space out for several seconds and pick up where you left off not realizing any time has passed. Sometimes they are accompanied by eye twitches or shaky hands and feet.
Are they seizures during sleep or awake? They happen both asleep and awake, but typically awake and during times of fatigue
Are sleep seizures related to epilepsy or not necesarely? Any seizure disorder is classified as epilepsy. What kind of epilepsy has to be determined by your neurologist.
Are they the same as sleep jerks when you`re drifting off to sleep or waking up, or the sleep apnea micro awakenings during sleep? Those are called myclonic jerks and are not the same thing.

I have these jerks or little jumps a lot, specially when I`m very sleep deprived (because of my not controlled complex apnea ) during my drifting off to sleep. . I also have them throughout the night (micro awakenings?) which I think is what makes my sleep so poor. I wake up exhausted in the mornings.

I also have what I`ve come to learn is a chronic acid reflux case. I had the fundoplication done and still have it. I`ve even had severe shortness of breath in the daytime from this. I`ve also felt central apneas in my sleep (literally felt I stop breathing, no obstructive) during drowsiness or light sleep, waking up very scared, out of breath and with my heart rasing (this is without CPAP).

You metion reflux possibly causing central sleep apnea (the brain telling the body it`s not safe to breath). This totally makes sense to me, and I never heard it befote. Where did you learn all this? This is per the 2 sleep specialists my son has seen. One was a pulmonologist and the other a neurologist
With your sleep doctor at your sleep clinic or are you a respiratory technician.? Is your son properly treated? He is currently monitored at night. Treatment is being determined in a couple of weeks.
Is he sleeping with a CPAP? No.
How did they find he has the central sleep apnea that particullary is the one where the brain forgets to send the breathing signal to the body? He's had 4 sleep studies and will be having his fifth in July or August
Your son doesn`t have reflux? He has ZERO reflux
Have they considered taking his tonsils/adenoids out? Yes, but his tonsils are almost nonexistent and his adenoids are not obstructing his airways.
Is he on CPAP? No . I hope he`s doing fine. He's doing as well as someone can do with poor quality sleep. He still sleeps upwards of 16 hours out of 24 in a day, but you do what you have to have energy to be a kid when you are awake!

My new sleep doctor tells me I have to take another sleep study because all the previous one`s results show a different thing. So it`s inconclusive. I don`t desaturate, but have a lot of awakenings and hypopneas. Don`t you have to desaturate to have obstructive sleep apnea? no
What are hypopneas anyway? It is shallow breathing.
You say it`s the same as complex? is when you have mixed apnea of both central and obstructive with hypopneas.
My doctor tells me hypopneas are obstructive. They can be both central or obstructive. They are typically obstructive in nature, rarely are they central.
Knowing which one I have is important to me cause I`m considering surgery. I wanna help myself in every way. She also says she has to find out if my awakenings (jumps/seizures?) are sleep apnea related or not. What if they`re not? Would this mean that I might have a neurological disorder? possibly.

Can sleep jerks while drifting off to sleep be caused by sleep deprivation anxiety (which I have)? I don't know
Can the ones Turing sleep be caused by what I think it is a very small awakening threshold caused by cpap pressure, snoring anda ir swallowing? Is there a drug to be less sensitive to these and have a deeper sleep while on cpap? I don't know this answer either

You also mentinon central sleep apnea being also caused by sizures. I don`t understand this. How can seizures cause central sleep apnea? My logic tells me lack of air (central sleep apnea) causes a seizure or awakening. Am I too wrong here? Seizures are "misfires" in the brain, which is what causes the apnea. Oxygen deprivation has to be SEVERE to cause a seizure, which is why seizures are not caused by apnea. By severe, I mean that you would have to go minutes without oxygen for it to cause a seizure

This is the part you wrote that I don`t get: “These most often appear as "Mixed apnea" or as an obstructive apnea followed by a central apnea event. It can also show up as a hypopnea (shallow breathing) and then fully manifest as a central apnea.” And I want to understand it, cause I wanna get a thorough sleep study this time to see if I can finally get proper treatment. Hypopneas can trigger the brain to believe there is danger of aspiration and will then tell your body to stop breathing. The same goes for an obstructive that becomes a central event. It's complicated, but it makes sense really. Your brain perceives that there is something in the airway preventing adequate airflow, decides there is risk of aspiration and tells your body to stop for just a second until it perceives the danger to have passed.

Finally, I have a girlf friendo who has an 8 months doughter. The baby has sleep apnea supposedly from lack of brain maturity/developement. Is this central? Most likely, was she a preemie?
I think my friend said they checked her throat and it was fine. She says doctor says apnea Could go on its own as the baby grows up and her brain matures. Is this the right treatment? Most preemies and infants will outgrow central sleep apnea, but some do not. She should have another sleep study about 9-12 months after her first one to determine if it is still a problem. In the meantime, she should be monitored with an apnea monitor at home.
Can a baby this young use CPAP already? No, I don't believe so, but I could be wrong. Infants are usually treated with medication or a "wait and see" philosophy.

Can sleep apnea and reflux be hereditary? It can be, but it is VERY rare.
Is my central sleep apnea supposed to improve if I have my acid reflux under control? Only if the reflux is the cause of the central apnea. You indicated that you had had a fundo and that it was still intact. If this is the case, then you should not be able to reflux anymore, which means that the apnea is not caused by the reflux.

Thank you and sorry for this long thread with so many questions. I`ll apreciate any help.

John Serrano.



I hope this helps. My answers are intertwined with your questions....

Tiffany
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Hello Again Tiffanny

Postby John32 » Sat May 30, 2009 4:22 pm

Hello Again Tiffanny:

Thanks so much for answering my long message. I have some more quesions...

If you can, could you please tell me the names and/or places of your sleep specialist and neurologist that treat your son? I`m gonna take a sleep study again and I wanna take it at a good sleep clinic with a good doctor this time. As I said before, each one of my previous sleep studies and titrations have shown different results. If you can`t do that here could you please give me this data in a private message or to my e mail account (sjhon_fabio@hotmail.com).

I think I don`t have seizures. I have what you called myoclonic jerks. First when falling asleep, and then during sleep (which my doctor has to find out if they`re apnea related). They`re just little jumps, not actual seizures like in epilepsy.

If hypopneas (shallow breathing) is mostly obstructive, rarely central, this means there`s a partial obstruction in the throat causing to breath less air?

Can obstructive sleep apnea in the throat make the brain believe there is a foriegn body or liquid in the throat causing a central apnea? I think this is what I understood from what you wrote...

Did your son`s doctors explained all this to you? I`m amazed by how much you know being a patient. I`ve had quite a ride with my uncontrolled apnea and doctors/sleep studies. I think it`s great that you`re here helping us. I already told my friend (who has a dughter with sleep apnea) about you and she found the information real useful.

By the way I`m glad yor son is monitored for sleep apnea. So is my friend`s daughter. Do you know if as an adult with sleep apnea you can ask your ensurance company for this, or is this only for babies?

Thanks,

John Serrano.
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