Sleep apnea and edema?

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Sleep apnea and edema?

Postby Sleepytime » Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:36 am

For years I've dealt with swollen legs and ankles. When I went to my doctor, the guy who was substituting for her at the time suggested there might be a possible link between sleep apnea and the swelling. (This was before I had a sleep study. I was just beginning to do research in to sleep apnea.)

Well, I am now a compliant CPAP user, and the swelling has gotten worse, I think. My legs feel bruised and there are places that feel really sore.

I went to my doctor and she diagnosed edema. She gave me a topical cream, because they were itching too, but that seems to have improved. .

Has anyone ever heard of such a connection?

Debbie :-?
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EDEMA&SLEEP APNEA

Postby backman56 » Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:05 pm

I TOO HAVE SWOLLEN ANKLES THAT ARE PAINFUL TO TOUCH,BLUE EMU EVERY NIGHT ON CALVES.I HAVE ALL KIND OF HEART TEST THAT IS OK,
DR THINKS ITS THE SLEEP APNEA.WHY WOULD THIS BE??RICK NCPA
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Postby Auntie » Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:43 pm

No idea, but my pulmonologist asked me if I had any swelling (and checked my ankles) at my initial visit! I don't have any, but it's curious that he asked, so there may be a connection somehow?
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Postby Janknitz » Tue Mar 30, 2010 1:37 am

A pulmonologist checks for leg edema because WITH OTHER SYMPTOMS (usually coughing and heart murmur) leg edema may be caused by heart failure.

But if your heart is OK there must be some other reason for leg edema. A common cause is lack of activity with the legs often hanging down. If exercise is not medically contraindicated, try increasing your activity level and elevating your legs when you do rest. Pressure stockings may help too (I hate them more than CPAP!)

I have "primary lymphedema" as part of the Noonan's syndrome. This causes malformation of the lymph vessels and results in swollen painful legs. But this is an unusual cause.

Leg swelling is a serious issue and if it persists your doctor should run tests to determine the cause. My experience is that most primary care doctors are pretty clueless about edema treatment, though. A cream to treat itchy skin is USELESS because the impaired skin circulation is the cause of the itchy skin and the cream will not treat the edema. My mom (who had this too) spent a fortune on creams that never worked.

A referral to a certified lymphedema therapist (physical therapy) or vascular doctor may be in order. Left untreated you may develop a serious skin infection (cellulitis) which can be life-threatening (If you ever have bad itching in a spot that becomes more swollen, red, and warm to the touch you should contact your doctor immediately!)

I'd be interested to hear if there is any direct connection to OSA. In my case they are both peripherally related to the overall syndrome I have, but that doesn't apply to most people.
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EDEMA

Postby backman56 » Tue Mar 30, 2010 2:59 pm

THAT IS PROBABLY TRUE NOT ENOUGH MOVEMENT,I HAD A FAILED LUMBAR FUSION AND IT IS REALLY PAINFUL TO STAND,OR WALK,THAT IS WHY THEY KEEP TELLING ME TO GET WALKING.THEY GAVE ME LUBRIDERM PATCH TO SEE IF THAT NUMBS THE BACK SO I CAN WALK. RICK NCPA
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Postby Janknitz » Tue Mar 30, 2010 3:29 pm

Backman,

If you can't walk far or long, walk short and often instead. Several short walks can take the place of one longer one--the key is to get moving. Truthfully, my back hurts more when I haven't been moving much. When my back gets sore, I know it's time to get moving!

Also, if you have a rocking chair you can sit in comfortably, get rocking. The movement will help your edema and won't annoy your back. They make glider rockers for nursing moms that you can buy inexpensively (I often see them for sale at thrift shops). These are very comfortable and supportive, easy to get in and out of because of the armrests, and you can rock away to "pump" your legs. You might need to elevate the seat with a thick cushion if the existing seat is too low for you to get in and out of comfortably.

Ufortunately, with back pain, it's hard to elevate your feet because that position can strain your back unless you have a really good recliner. Also, in bed if you lay on your back, support your legs on pillows with your knees bent (imagine the same position you sit in if you were upright) it's a comfy position for your back and will elevate your legs. You may not want to do this all night, but for a nap it's a great position. Don't forget your CPAP!
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Postby Sleepytime » Tue Mar 30, 2010 10:57 pm

I bought a pair of support hose at Right Aid and am planning to buy more. A friend recommended a medical supply place where they measure your legs, and help you choose hose that are the most helpful.

I walk three or four times a week, and go on a treadmill when I don't get outside. I have a recliner and have started putting my feet up when I'm sitting there. I even manage to put my feet up sometimes at work.

The itching has improved--I haven't used the cream my doctor prescribed; it seemed to make it worse--and my friend says the discolored places on my legs are clearing up. They still feel a little sore, but I'm hoping that will also go away in time.

Thank you, Janknitz for posting. It really helps.

Debbie
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Postby Janknitz » Wed Mar 31, 2010 12:44 am

Good to hear, Debbie. Ask your friend to check your legs regularly. If you have any sores on your legs you should immediately notify your doctor. With edema, there is a risk of skin infection that can be very serious.

Good luck!
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