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Week 9, 2013


Why Rheumatoid Arthritis can cause Sleep Apnea?  


North Branford, CT. 3/3/2013. This article explains why rheumatoid arthritis could cause sleep apnea.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a immune system disease that primarily attacks joints and their nearby tissues and causes inflammations and pains. Untreated rheumatoid arthritis could lead to loss of mobility.

We have discussed that sleep apnea could be one of the root cause of the rheumatoid arthritis. In fact, rheumatoid arthritis could lead to sleep apnea as well.

Many of rheumatoid arthritis patients know that during medication search and trials, they are very often to use Prednisone or other steroids to temporarily control the inflammations. This period could be several months or years. The doses could be as little as 2 mg or 30 mg a day. The prednisone can weaken the immune system so it won’t attack its own joint tissues, thus eliminates the inflammations. One of side effects of prednisone is the rapid weight gain and swelling of tissues such as tongue and neck.

As we all know that weight is a big factor of sleep apnea. Reduce weight is critical for sleep apnea. The worst part is an enlarged tongue and/or tosils which can easily block the breathing passage during sleep due to the gravity and relaxation of the muscles attached to them.

Many of sleep apnea patients reduced their weights after stop using prednisone. But apneas still exist during sleep. This is because the sizes of their tongues, especially the back of the tongues are not reduced even they followed physicians’ instructions for a graduated reduction of use of prednisone.

Therefore for rheumatoid arthritis patients, please aggressively search for effective treatments and cut prednisone usage as little and short as possible to minimize the long term impact on sleep apnea.


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Last Week Article: Sleep Apnea vs. Nocturia