Central apnea? During the day?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Juloo, Jan 31, 2009.

  1. Juloo

    Juloo Member

    This doesn't happen to me a lot, but maybe a couple of times a year. I have episodes when my body doesn't seem to 'remember' to breath on times.

    I knew I was having problems last night, and my husband (who was sleeping separately due to a cold) came in early and got in bed with me. He told me later that he couldn't hear me breathing -- as opposed to snoring (obstructive-type apnea symptom). I kept waking up and having to take a deep breath.

    The symptoms actually lasted a couple of hours after I got up and had breakfast.

    As I said, it doesn't happen a lot, but when it does, it's a bit freaky and not a little scary.

    I've had two sleep studies (several years ago) which did not show any central apnea episodes, and I haven't recently changed any medications.

    Does anyone else have these weird little times of it feeling like your body forgets to breathe?
  2. robin1667

    robin1667 New Member

    Seems to me you need to be seen again. From what I have read about Central apnea, it can happen while you are awake. Please at least get it checked out, it is not something to ignore.
    I have sleep apnea also.
  3. richvank

    richvank New Member

    Hi, Juloo.

    Quite a few people with CFS report this.

    For what it's worth, here's my hypothesis about it:

    Breathing is controlled by the respiratory center in the brainstem, and it regulates the rate and depth of breathing according to the level of carbon dioxide and the pH of the blood it receives. When carbon dioxide rises, it intensifies the breathing to clear it out of the blood. In a normal, healthy person, if the carbon dioxide level is controlled, there will also be enough oxygen inhaled to supply the cells.

    In CFS, there is mitochondrial dysfunction, as is the subject of the recent paper by Myhill et al. that has been discussed on the board.

    One of the aspects of mito dysfunction is that less carbon dioxide than normal is produced and put into the blood. There have been several studies showing that hypocapnia (low carbon dioxide) is present in CFS. Unfortunately, the authors of all these studies have interpreted it as being due to hyperventilation, though this is not supported by measurements, and in fact when ventilation has been measured in CFS, hyperventilation has not been found. These authors did not consider mito dysfunction, because it hasn't been pointed out until recently, and hyperventilation is the classical cause of hypocapnia.

    When the carbon dioxide level in the blood goes below normal, the respiratory center shuts down the breathing, in order to retain carbon dioxide in the blood and to raise it up to a normal level. However, in the case of CFS, this causes the oxygen level to drop to the alarm point, which causes the person to awaken, if they are sleeping, and gasp for air.

    The solution to this problem is to correct the mito dysfunction. According to the GD-MCB(glutathione depletion--methylation cycle block) hypothesis, the mito dysfunction originates with glutathione depletion in the mitochondria, and it is necessary to lift the methylation cycle block in order to bring the glutathione levels up permanently. A suggested treatment for this has been discussed in my posts to this board over the past two years.

    Best regards,

    [This Message was Edited on 01/31/2009]
  4. sleepyinlalaland

    sleepyinlalaland New Member

    don't know if I have or have had sleep apnea, as I don't believe I've ever slept deeply enough on any of my 3 sleep studies for it to be detected. (my perception is that I didn't sleep at all).

    But I sure feel like I know what you're talking about when you say "forgetting to BREATHE". This was another cause for the many miseries of my late teen/early 20's years. This happened SO frequently to me and did not seem to be related to any immediate anxiety, though I would accept that it may be a consequence of constant low-grade (and unconscious) anxiety. I totally and almost daily (sometimes ALL day) felt unable to get a satisfying breath. Often, it felt like I had to deliberately concentrate on the process of breathing, and that my body had just FORGOTTEN how to breathe! If I was able to, I would lie flat on the floor and talk myself through a session of deep yogic breathing. Usually, that helped for awhile. Eventually these episodes passed, but it was a problem for many years.

    The only publication where I saw this described was in a book called "The Anxiety Disease". Well, I've no opinion as to whether or not anxiety is a "disease", but the doctor/author described this phenomena as a stage of "the disease" and he described it EXACTLY how it felt to me...a bodily process which should be autonomic has been disrupted and now required conscious thought.

    a P.S. to researcher-types. I'd highly recommend the above book, and I hope that the title is not too off-putting. It is NOT by an author who thinks it's all in one's head, though it may be programmed in our hard-drive! It is an older book, but I think much of what he reports on figures in SOME way into what we deal with, and I believe he refers to good science.
  5. luckyman

    luckyman New Member

    Your theory seems to have merit, and may explain why i have these episodes. They seem to be more prevelent during a flare after I've overdone it. I also have had this problem after taking Lyrica for a couple of months on a stabilized dosage. Lyrica seems to help with my painful neuropathies, but also causes loss of sensation. I felt that it effected the brain stem and reduced the level of the firing of the neurons to the point that I was unable to breath for about 30 seconds, even with conscious thought. I forced myself to relax, stayed calm, and was able to regain my ability to breath. I related this to Lyrica because I purposely went on and off the drug for 2-3 months at a time to help determine the efficacy of the drug for me. Each time after about 2 months, this symptom came up. I no longer take it except on rare occasion, and then only when really needed. I now only seem to stop breathing for a few seconds at times, and only occationally need to remind myself to breath, just like the many years before Lyrica.

    Rich my question to you is, do you think these neuopathies play a part in your theories, in other words do you think the low levels of carbon dioxide exacerbate the breathing difficulties if the brain stem is damaged? (I also have problems with body temperature regulation, and stress (overwork) invoked tachycardia. In the few months before finally resigning I had a resting pulse of 125-130 consistantly. After gettting disibility it has returned to about 70 for the last five years. I also had this happen 2 different years while training for the nationals 35 years ago. Not trying to give you a life history, but perhaps somehow help and understand this disease process)

    Thanks for your time,
  6. Juloo

    Juloo Member

    I will have to reply at length later. After my not-great night of sleep, I was signed up to be a chaperone of a middle school band trip to see a performance of 'Drumline Live'. As you can imagine, it was non-stop noise during every single second of the late afternoon and evening. I slept about 12 hours last night (fortunately with no non-breathing incidents that I remember).

    I'm going to print out the replies to look at in detail.