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Adrienne Dellwo

Sleep & Common Comorbidities With Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

By May 31, 2010

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Research Briefs

According to information published by Newswise, two recent studies on sleep shed light on what could link fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome to a higher risk of diabetes, and a third could make it easier for people with these conditions to have a quality sleep study.

Study #1: Sleepless Night = Insulin Resistance

A new study accepted for publication in the Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism suggests that a single night with inadequate sleep is enough to cause insulin resistance. This is the first study to link just one night of poor sleep to the problem, but others have shown a link between insulin resistance and several night of shortened sleep duration.

Insulin resistance happens when the body no longer uses insulin efficiently, so it takes more of the hormone to keep the body functioning. This is a key component of type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes.

People with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome typically don't sleep well and awaken feeling unrefreshed. That could be to blame, at least in part, for the higher incidence of diabetes in these conditions.

Study #2: Sleep Apnea & Insulin Resistance

In an unrelated study, researchers found that sleep apnea may increase insulin resistance as well. This information was presented recently at the American Thoracic Society's (ATS) International Conference in New Orleans.

Sleep apnea is a common comorbidity with fibromyalgia, and rates are rising in the general population along with obesity. This study underscores the need for proper treatment of sleep apnea as well as the need for proper diagnosis.

Study #3: At-Home Sleep Testing

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is often diagnosed during a sleep study, in which the patient must go to a sleep lab for the night. However, many people find this process to be extremely uncomfortable, and there can be a long wait time. It also makes follow-up evaluation difficult and costly.

New research showing that at-home tests are as good at diagnosing OSA also was presented at the ATS conference. In addition, it showed that people diagnosed this way were just as consistent in their use of a CPAP machine, which is the common treatment, as were those diagnosed at a lab.

This study did gather data on the costs of lab testing vs. home testing with a portable monitor, but those results have not yet been released.

Learn more or join the conversation!


Photo Angelo Cavalli/Getty Images

May 31, 2010 at 2:37 pm
(1) Mack D Jones, MD, SAAN says:

The cause of Fibromyalgia is sleep apnea. Treat it and put an end to this disease.

From Your Guide: While sleep apnea may contribute to the development of fibromyalgia in some people, not everyone with fibromyalgia has sleep apnea, nor is it likely to be the sole cause. In my case, OSA developed well after fibro. Treating it has kept it from exacerbating my fibro symptoms, but it’s certainly been no cure. ~Adrienne

May 31, 2010 at 5:21 pm
(2) Dave says:

Mack your dreaming. I’m having a hard time believing you’re a doctor. Sleep apnea should be ruled out of course but it’s certainly not the cause. If that were the case I would have been recovered for the last five years. I wear a CPAP machine every night. The only pain it relieves is the soreness in my right rib cage from the wife jabbing me to stop snoring. It’s helped quite a bit with her fatigue but made no difference in mine. Some patients are not to the point of being able to recognize a below average doctor. Simplistic and arrogant statements such as yours do nothing but harm. Please read the “must reads” below. That would be a good start in educating yourself on the matter.

May 31, 2010 at 7:41 pm
(3) Lourdes says:

Thanks, Dave! I have been tested for sleep apnea and I don’t have this disorder. I do have Periodic Sleep Movement Disorder– pretty severe, according to the tests– and it is being treated and I still have my FM symptoms!

May 31, 2010 at 7:46 pm
(4) abotbensussen says:

I’ve been using xyrem (sodium oxybate) for sleep these last four years and it enables me to have the deep, restorative, stage 4 sleep that fm sufferers are denied. I also use a vpap, and with the machine and the meds my symptoms of fm have decreased greatly. So i use less pain meds and can get out and exercise, pilates, yoga, and gym, and have a nice if limited life. I wish more fms could have the kind of support i am getting.

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