Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Is There Any Relation between Cluster Headaches and Sleep Apnea?

Individuals diagnosed with cluster headache are at high risk of having sleep apnea, although undiagnosed most of the time, recent studies reveal. As the researchers concluded that there is a strong correlation between the occurrence of obstructive sleep apnea and cluster headache, since the breathing complications are mostly prevalent among these individuals. At its very basic level, the scientific researches pointed out a possibility of improving the symptoms of cluster headache by treating obstructive sleep apnea.

The Details of the Study

The study was conducted by Dr. Chervin and his associates and supported by the Sleep Disorder Center at the University of Michigan. It was an observational study in which 25 individuals with active or inactive cluster headaches participated. No diagnosis for sleep-disordered breathing had been taken place prior to the commencement of the study. The findings revealed that over 80% of the participants experienced 5 episodes of apnea or hypopnea during each hour of sleep and 44% experienced 10 or more in that given period. Participants with cluster headaches and sleep apnea showed severe oxygen de-saturation in the majority of the cases.

Decreased CO2 Reaction

The findings also confirmed that the participants with cluster headaches and sleep apnea also experience maximum level of end-tidal carbon dioxide. Scientists spoke about the possibility that a reduced responsiveness to CO2 may develop cluster headaches and since sleep apnea results in minimum oxygen saturation, it explains the association with sleep-disordered breathing as linked up with cluster headache. In reference to other studies that explained the occurrence of numerous rapid physiological changes as a direct consequence of sleep-disordered breathing, it can be surmised that there is a strong correlation between sleep apnea and cluster headaches.

The Speculation and Future Prospect

While speculative hypothesis in this particular aspect emphasizes that the recurring, outsized, adverse intrathoracic pressures occurring as a result of sleep apnea may directly influence intravascular content and the blood vessels in the head, leading to headaches. Sleep apnea and sleep disordered breathing have the high possibility to influence the entire mechanism governing the sensation of ache, however, more researches are actually needed to draw the conclusion line. It's still not been proved whether the breathing pattern caused by sleep apnea actually causes headaches and whether there is any causal relationship between these two variables.

However, there is a strong correlation between these two variables for certain. Further studies are needed to confirm the causal relationship between sleep apnea and headaches. Additionally, researchers do not underestimate the possibility of finding out any third variable responsible for both apnea and headaches in addition to the possibility to develop hypothesis to find out whether the treatment of sleep apnea improves headache problems or not.

No comments:

Subscribe Now: standard