Waking up with numb hands, my 2 months of CPAP. What now?

General Discussion on any topic relating to CPAP and/or Sleep Apnea.
Numb_dreams
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Waking up with numb hands, my 2 months of CPAP. What now?

Post by Numb_dreams » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:01 pm

Is this normal?

I have been having two types of events happening in my sleep. The first type, I wake up gasping for air, my heart pounding at 150-200 BPM. This happened once every month or two, and started happening a few years ago. Right before I got my CPAP, the frequency was about once every 2 weeks. The second type, I wake up with a pulsing pain somewhere in my neck, usually around the left jugular/carotid area. In severe episodes, I wake up on my back and my neck is craned to its max extent (~100 degrees to the left). Heart is pounding hard at 150-200 BPM, heavy breathing and legs/arms are numb (sometimes my bottom lip and chin area is numb too). A few moments after I align my head forward, the pounding and numbness abates. On two severe occasions, I experienced bruits during the episode and intermittently throughout the rest of the day. Before I got my CPAP, it was happening a few times per week with mild-moderate severity. High severity occurred once or twice a month.

The sleep doc didn't know what to make of the second type of event, numbness and all. I'm under 30, male, no prior medical history, body fat 17-21%, healthy lipid panel, and above average fitness. Almost certain it's not due to anxiety. In the sleep study I scored an AHI of ~8 and started using Resmed Dreamstation + humidifer with nasal pillow. My AHI is now around 2, and it does seem to greatly reduce frequency of type 1 event, waking up gasping for air. Some days I even wake up feeling refreshed. Type 2 event seems reduced but definitely present. On any given night, if I don't carefully position my head, I will experience at least a mild type 2 event. I downloaded SleepyHead a few days ago, and have begun recording times when I wake up with numbness. So far the episodes have been mild and my neck isn't craned sharply left or right. Also it appears that I am breathing normally prior to waking up.

Has anybody experienced anything similar?

My theory is that something regarding the angle of my neck is pinching off blood flow to my brain, creating a hypoxemic state similar to that of apnea. Also, the oxygen deprivation causes numbness. I will be seeing the sleep doc in 3 weeks. I'm thinking about discontinuing CPAP therapy, as I'm not heavily concerned about the sleep apnea at this moment. The sleep numbness is my primary concern.

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Julie
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Re: Waking up with numb hands, my 2 months of CPAP. What now?

Post by Julie » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:16 pm

I think you're not wrong in suspecting what you say in your last paragraph (or so), but it's not something to guess at. You may well have a neck problem (disc or other), but possibly even something call TOS (thoracic outlet syndrome - please look it up) which I know a bit about having worked for neurologists who dealt with it. However don't just assume either of the two things, or any other, but ask for a referral either to a neurologist or possibly even a cardiologist who may be familiar with carotid issues (a Doppler exam might be a place to start). But I also don't think not using your machine will help anything if you can find a comfortable way to sleep. I definitely do NOT suggest trying to diagnose yourself however as that can so lead you into all kinds of trouble, anxiety, and wrong directions.

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MoodyMolly
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Re: Waking up with numb hands, my 2 months of CPAP. What now?

Post by MoodyMolly » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:22 pm

I was literally coming on here to ask about a similar situation I'm having, I too have been having episodes where I wake up suddenly, feeling lightheaded like I'm about to faint. Sometimes with numbness. It feels like m my brain isn't getting enough oxygen. I've been using an apap for 2 months now, and I'm still getting it now and then. Last night was horrible, I couldn't use my machine because it felt like I couldn't breathe, and every time I laid down I got lightheaded and faint. No matter if I was laying on my back or side, eventually I fell asleep in my recliner even though it was still having episodes sitting up, just not as bad.
I guess after rereading you post, it's not quite the same for me, as I don't have any pain, and my heart rate isn't fast, in fact it's more light than anything, and I can barely feel my pulse. I also had the walking, gasping for breath with my heart racing, but with the apap, that's been getting better.
My thoughts on my lightheadedness is the same as yours, that my neck is positioned so that my brain isn't getting the blood/oxygen it needs, but the fact that it still happens when I'm upright sometimes, makes me wonder if an artery is pinched or something.

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Josiah
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Re: Waking up with numb hands, my 2 months of CPAP. What now?

Post by Josiah » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:30 pm

I periodically suffer wake-up neuropathy. There are a number of different causes that may be responsible. I originally imagined a blood flow problem but it's much more likely neurological. Start by getting familiar with neuropathy using google
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Rob K
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Re: Waking up with numb hands, my 2 months of CPAP. What now?

Post by Rob K » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:39 pm

Yes, has been happening to me for years. I'll have my arms and shoulders go completely numb where I can't move them while I'm sleeping. The pain will wake me fairly often. Doesn't matter if I'm sleeping on them or not. Before proper cpap therapy it was far more severe. Arms, legs, side of torso, neck, anywhere on the head, pretty much anywhere. Now with proper therapy and rest things have gotten better. Now it seems to mainly be my shoulders and arms. It comes and goes now, seems to be made worse by physical activity and not getting enough rest. Same as you, I still need to figure out what's causing it. Not sure if our problems are the same, but will be following along.

Also the racing heart thing stopped for me once my cpap pressure settings were adequate. Several doctors didn't figure it out. It was the people on this forum that helped me with that. I had a ton of symptoms that went away with proper therapy. I wouldn't quit the cpap if you need it since it's likely to make all your symptoms worse if you stop.

The first thing I would start with is making sure your cpap therapy is adequate. Beyond that I'll be trying to figure it out like you.

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Numb_dreams
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Re: Waking up with numb hands, my 2 months of CPAP. What now?

Post by Numb_dreams » Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:22 am

Rob K, yeah, I think your Sx and my Sx are most similar. After CPAP therapy, I only feel numbness in my arms. I initially used the full face mask, but stopped because it would always cause facial numbness around the mask's pressure points.

I also know the onset of the numbness is gradual. Sometimes when I wake up with mild numbness, I just breathe and rest. I feel the numbness worsen a bit before I adjust my head position.

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Rob K
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Re: Waking up with numb hands, my 2 months of CPAP. What now?

Post by Rob K » Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:02 pm

In my case AHI was around 3-5 and the doctors said everything looked good. I still felt terrible. The forum members and I increased the pressure and got my AHI down to around 1 most nights. That's when I started to feel the benefits of the therapy. After that it took several months as things slowly improved. Now the only real complaint I have is the painful numbness I get when sleeping.

Hopefully you can figure out your numbness. I posted, because it does sound very similar to what I have going on. Have you downloaded the Sleepyhead software and gotten familiar with it yet? If your machine records data you can look at it with the Sleepyhead software. The members here are pretty good about helping people interpret the data from your machine and figure out if pressures are adequate. That's where I would start and definitely talk to your doctor to make sure that it's not something urgent. Wish I could be of more help, but I'm still learning and trying to figure out a lot of things myself.

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Mask: AirFit™ P10 Nasal Pillow CPAP Mask with Headgear
Humidifier: PR System One 60 Series Heated Tube Humidifier with Heated Tube
Additional Comments: Sleepyhead software