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Epilepsy and Sleep: How are Seizures Linked to Sleep Apnea

August 20, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — lakewaydentist @ 8:03 pm

Hands holding brain cutout representing epilepsyThere are many conditions that can cause seizures – including head injuries, brain infections, low blood sugar, and drug use – but if you suffer from such convulsions on a recurring basis, then you most likely have epilepsy. While the exact cause of epilepsy has yet to be definitively defined, it is known that it can potentially be linked to anything that affects your brain; naturally, that includes the quality of the sleep you get every night. Take the time to learn more about the connection between epilepsy and sleep apnea in Lakeway – and how having one of those conditions treated could also improve the other.

What Does Sleep Apnea Have to Do with Epilepsy?

According to a study performed by the University of Michigan, roughly one third of epilepsy patients also suffer from sleep apnea. Those suffering from both conditions were also found to be far more likely to suffer from seizures at night compared to those who only had epilepsy. This could be linked to the relationship between sleep and epilepsy. During the sleep cycle, your brain produces specific electrical charges that could trigger a seizure. This is why some people only suffer from seizures while they’re asleep. Such seizures usually force you to wake up, disturbing your rest. Since repeated awakenings are also a common side effect of sleep apnea, it goes without saying that if you happen to suffer from both conditions at the same time, you’ll have a very difficult time achieving a healthy amount of sleep at night.

Could Treating Sleep Apnea Also Improve Epilepsy?

If two conditions are linked in some way, it stands to reason that treating one could have an effect on the other. In this case, there is evidence that finding relief for sleep apnea could also improve your epilepsy. In 2017, Dr. Nancy Foldvary-Schaefer DO, MS presented her findings on the relationship between seizures and sleep apnea therapy. It was found that those who underwent positive airway pressure therapy (PAP) for sleep apnea saw a 50% decrease in seizures following the treatment. While further research is needed, this clearly suggests that treating existing sleep apnea could help increase the quality of life for epilepsy patients.

What Should You Do If You Have Sleep Apnea?

Whether you have epilepsy or not, it’s always best to have sleep apnea diagnosed and treated as soon as possible if you want to avoid additional health concerns. Get in touch with your physician or a sleep dentist in Lakeway if you suffer from daytime fatigue, frequent loud snoring, or breathing issues during sleep (which will likely need to be identified by a sleep partner).

Of course, it’s important to have your epilepsy treated as well. That said, if you’re already living with both conditions, you can greatly improve the quality of your life – and of your sleep – by taking the initiative in seeking a solution for your sleep disorder.

About Eaddy Dentistry

Here at Eaddy Dentistry, the father-and-son team of Dr. Winston Eaddy and Dr. Daniel Eaddy have built their approach to oral healthcare around a philosophy of trust, comfort, affordability, and quality. In addition to traditional dental care, they can also help patients suffering from sleep apnea get a good night’s rest again with oral appliance therapy. If you suspect that sleep apnea is aggravating your epilepsy or another condition, you should seek care immediately; get in touch with us through our website or by calling (512) 263-4252.

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