Category: Lyme overlap with other Diseases
Is there any relationship between sleep apnea and Lyme disease?
We do not know of any evidence that Lyme Disease causes sleep apnea, although sleep apnea has been associated with other encephalitic disorders. Sleep apnea may look like Lyme disease. For example, patients with sleep apnea may be difficult to arouse when asleep, will have excessive daytime sleepiness, and may complain of insomnia. They may have morning headaches, inattentiveness, and a decline in school or work performance. Hypertension may also occur.
One can have sleep apnea without being obese. The problem can occur in children as well as adults. The diagnosis is made at a Sleep Lab after special tests of respiratory function and all-night polygraphic sleep monitoring.
Patients with central sleep apnea may have lesions in the medulla with ninth and 10th cranial nerve palsies with trouble swallowing or speaking. Patients with obstructive sleep apnea tend to be overweight and to have large tonsils. These patients may snore and then have 10-30 second periods at night when breathing appears to stop. Patients will then take a deep snorting breath and then return to sleep, unaware of what just happened.
Treatment is determined by the severity of the symptoms and the type. In central apnea, medroxyprogesterone and protriptyline can be helpful. Weight loss and surgical correction are the treatments for the obstructive type. Patients may experience enormous relief after the surgery. Symptoms previously incorrectly attributed to Lyme disease may now resolve completely.
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