Sleep Interrupted: OSA and a Flare-Up

The first time I ever experienced a flare-up caused by disease was back in 2009 and I had no idea what it was. I was fatigued and felt really nasty. I remember going to a walk-in clinic because I had only moved to a new city about a month prior and had not found a new general practitioner yet. The doctor thought I had a cold and told me to get plenty of rest.

3 years later, mystery solved

It wasn’t until my second flare-up almost 3 years later that I found out what was going on, my endometriosis caused a flare-up. It made me happy to finally be able to understand what happened in 2009. A flare-up is a sudden appearance or worsening of the symptoms of a disease or illness.

I have had a couple of flare-ups since then. Some aren’t as bad as others, thankfully. I can’t always tell which disease started it but they all eventually join in.

Flare-ups can affect multiple diseases

Flash forward to right now, (it's February as I write this), and I am in the middle of a flare-up. All my diseases are affected. Unlike other times, it seems like every disease flared up all at once.

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I know that this flare-up, like my first one back in 2009, was brought on by major stress that lasted for 2 days (not by my choosing).

I knew the odds of it causing a flare-up were very high so I tried my hardest to practice lots of self-care whenever I could. It wasn’t easy, but I think it probably did help keep this from being a super bad flare-up.

Flare-ups and sleep apnea are an exhausting combination

While I may not know how long I have been suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), I feel like this flare-up is taking a toll. My quality of sleep has been hindered even though I am sleeping more hours a night. I am not able to follow my sleep routine properly and as a result, it takes me longer to fall back asleep when I wake up in the middle of the night either due to pain or to go to the bathroom.

There were many times I was awoken due to agony. This is causing even more extreme fatigue and brain fog with this flare-up. It was such a struggle to string thoughts together coherently that I was unable to do any work in January.

Facial pain adds to my discomfort

30 days ago, the stones in my salivary glands started to act up. At first, it was just the left side, then the right side, and now it jumps back and forth between sides. Thankfully, never both sides at the same time. When my stones act up, eating and drinking cause great agony.

Depending on what side is hurting, 6 teeth (3 on top, 3 on the bottom, right above each other) will feel like I am experiencing a horrible toothache. The entire side of my face from my nose to my ear, top of my head to midway down my neck will ache horribly and be extremely sensitive to the touch.

What is the impact on my sleep apnea?

I worry that this swelling may be impacting whatever is causing my OSA but I don’t know for sure. Wearing a face mask causes massive agony. It can also feel like I have a horrible earache. Even smells trigger agony (think about how when you smell something it triggers saliva).

There have been times that I have wanted to go to the emergency room because the pains are so bad and I’m pretty dehydrated; but, with how sensitive I am to painkiller side effects without getting much or any pain relief and how sensitive my heart is, I wasn’t sure what they would be able to do for me. Plus, our hospital is understaffed and Omicron is still a big issue here.

I really hope that this flare-up ends real soon. If you have multiple diseases, when you have a flare-up, does it impact your OSA?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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