A scalloped or flattened flow contour is evidence of increased upper airways resistance causing flow limitation. Though such a respiratory event is less likely to lead to hypoxemia than a complete apnea, it also causes cortical arousal and thus, if frequent, may lead to the daytime symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.
In patients with symptoms of excessive daytime somnolence and low AHI this may help diagnose the UARS and separate it from nonrespiratory causes of sleep fragmentation.
Sleep disordered breathing (SDB) is a common trigger for CFS and Fibromyalgia (CFS/FMS). Sleep Apnea is fairly well known. We are now learning about a different form of SDB called Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS). UARS almost exactly mimics CFS/FMS, is very treatable.
Although both UARS and sleep apnea are caused by blocked airflow while sleeping, there are many critical differences in the problems they cause:
• Chronic insomnia with frequent awakenings and the inability to fall back asleep tends to be more common in patients with UARS than those with sleep apnea.
• Patients with sleep apnea tend to fall asleep easily during the day (such as when driving), however, patients with UARS are more likely to complain of fatigue than sleepiness.
• Patients with sleep apnea tend to be overweight; however, those with UARS can be any weight.
• About 50 percent of those with UARS are women, while only 8 percent of those with sleep apnea are female.
• Upper airway resistance syndrome is often accompanied by a spastic colon and low blood pressure with lightheadedness on standing while sleep apnea is usually associated with high blood pressure.
• People with UARS usually have cold hands and feet and other symptoms of hypothyroidism and a brainwave pattern called alpha intrusion into Delta sleep, which often occurs in CFS and fibromyalgia.
UARS is often misdiagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, or even ADD/hyperactivity and may be a key contributor to CFS and fibromyalgia.
OMG, this is me for sure! I just went to my doctor recently for a physical and asked her if she thought I might have chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia because I was so tired and hurt all over constantly. She tested me for everything that could be causing these symptoms and said everything was normal.
I do have low blood pressure, cold hands and feet, and symptoms of hypothyroidism.
I've also been looking at my SleepyHead reports more closely. I've noticed a lot of flattened wave forms in the flow rate graph with no drop in my oxygen level. My AHI is always less than 1. The graph does show flow limitation when I have the flattened wave forms.
I will definitely be gradually increasing my pressure until I stop having the flattened wave forms and flow limitation.
I'm so excited that the possibility to feel better is within reach!
PS: Yes, I've talked to my PCP about adjusting the pressures and she's given me permission to do it.