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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Sleep Apnea
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24 posts in this topic

Anyone else suffer from this? Is it a symptom of gluten intolerance?

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Indirectly this can happen. Inflamation is a reaction to gluten. Air passages can be affected. This is similar to joint pain. Inflamation is the cause there too.

Sleep apnea is caused when the airway is blocked because of flesh in the neck bears down on the airway. This stops air flow. UARS is upper airway resistance syndrome. This is the restriction of the sinuses and nasal passages. More likely this is indirectly related to celiac in the inflamation response earlier mentioned. Sleep apnea is most likely a condition of being overweight (much of the sleep apnea population is overweight but not all). It is possible to get in a feedback loop. Sleep apnea makes one tired. Lack of sleep results in lack of activity. Lack of activity results in weight gain. Weigh gain results in a worsening sleep apnea condition. This cycle repeats itself.

It can happen the same way with gluten. Gluten triggers a inflamation response. Airways are restricted. Sleep is interrupted. Activity is down, weight increases. Gluten and gliadin can increase appetite. Weight increases and sleeps apnea starts. Cycle repeats. Add in joint pain from inflamation and increased wieght and more activity is lost.

Treatment for both is the use of a cpap machine. It is a device that creates positive air pressure in you airways while you sleep. The positive air pressure splints open airways so breathing is not restricted.

I have the UARS variety. I am pretty lean but my nasal sinuses are restricted. 3 years of use has dramatically changed my life. Going gluten free has helped with my sinuses too, but I will always need to use the cpap device since my sinus anatomy is restricted. Gluten free obviously changed many other aspects of my life besides sleep issues.

Incidentally, an issue that I was having with my cpap lead to the discovery of celiac. I was swallowing air at night. I had a checkup with an endoscopy. Celiac was discovered.

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Sounds about right... I have apnea as well. Recently diagnosed Celiac. Went gluten free a week ago and I've already dropped about 5 lbs. My hope is that the gluten-free diet will also help alleviate the Sleep apnea to a certain extent. They are thinking of getting me one of those CPAP machines as well. We'll see... One thing for sure... Since going gluten-free, my sinuses have improved,I haven't needed an antihistimine in a week and feel more rested in the morning...

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I have a 5 year old who I believe has sleep apnea and who is about to be confirmed as Celiac. No doctor has believed me that she has sleep apnea (but I should know--I figured out on day 5 of her life that she had Apnea of Prematurity--holding her breath 45% of her sleep time--all the nurses in the hospital missed that for the 4 days she was there!!!).

We have one more week of gluten and then she'll have her endoscopy. We are going to Children's Hospital in LA and they do have a pediatric sleep center. Do you all think I should check in with them or should I go a few months and see how she's doing after being off gluten?

Thanks in adavance and wish you all a good night's sleep!

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I have mild apnea but didn't develop it until after going gluten-free, so I see no connection in my case. I think we should be careful about trying to link everything to celiac.

richard

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I have mild apnea but didn't develop it until after going gluten-free, so I see no connection in my case. I think we should be careful about trying to link everything to celiac.

richard

I agree. I didn't lose sleeping issues until I also went nightshade free.

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I have a 5 year old who I believe has sleep apnea and who is about to be confirmed as Celiac. No doctor has believed me that she has sleep apnea (but I should know--I figured out on day 5 of her life that she had Apnea of Prematurity--holding her breath 45% of her sleep time--all the nurses in the hospital missed that for the 4 days she was there!!!).

We have one more week of gluten and then she'll have her endoscopy. We are going to Children's Hospital in LA and they do have a pediatric sleep center. Do you all think I should check in with them or should I go a few months and see how she's doing after being off gluten?

Thanks in adavance and wish you all a good night's sleep!

Sleep apnea can have some serious side effects. I think I'd push for a sleep study?

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I have celiac and also have sleep apnea and I believe they are realted. Since going gluten free, I am sleeping much better. I at times do suffer insomnia, but have been sleeping better overall since going gluten free. Only been gluten free since March 19 2012 so I know it will take time for my body to really show big signs of improement but one thing that was instantly improved like overnight was mantal confusion. I ahve not had a diagnossis of celiac, but do know that is what has sent my body into a downward spiral for the past 10-15 yr. Now I am climbing back up to the top!

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Hello,

I have Celiac and a sleep disorder (hypopneas, periods of reduced breathing, rather than apneas, but which are just as bad). I think having an untreated sleep disorder puts the body and nervous system under a lot of stress. In my mind I wonder if its part of the reason I developed Celiac - from stress, which was potentially exacerbated or caused by my untreated sleep disorder. I have probably have had the sleep disorder since my teen years (now 27), because we think its due to having a large tongue and a very narrow jaw space, but not sure when I developed/triggered Celiac (I got a very bad case of eczema, tested negative for DH, which got worse and prompted the Celiac tests when I was 26) - I could've developed it last year or it could have been happening for several years or more. Its hard to say because I have no gut reaction to ingesting gluten - I don't feel anything or get sick.

Anyway, its interesting to think about the connections, but hard to say for sure! I don't think going gluten-free will help my sleep disorder at all, since its not so much about inflammation in my throat but just not enough room for my tongue.

Regards,

A

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I have hypopneas too, where my breathing rate just gets very slow and shallow. But it's not an obstructed airway because even during the day I sometimes have to take in a really deep 'extra' breath because I am short of oxygen. I think I just forget to breathe sometimes. :blink:

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I have hypopneas too, where my breathing rate just gets very slow and shallow. But it's not an obstructed airway because even during the day I sometimes have to take in a really deep 'extra' breath because I am short of oxygen. I think I just forget to breathe sometimes. :blink:

Very interesting. I've done that for years..but never knew there was a name for it.

If I were to tell someone it was like I forgot to breathe..they would think I was daffy, but that's what it feels like?

I have Vicodin for pain issues from a spinal surgery and for migraines. I only take it if I absolutely must..and if I'm not going to lay down, because the "forgetting to breathe" is worse if I take the med.

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Very interesting. I've done that for years..but never knew there was a name for it.

If I were to tell someone it was like I forgot to breathe..they would think I was daffy, but that's what it feels like?

I have Vicodin for pain issues from a spinal surgery and for migraines. I only take it if I absolutely must..and if I'm not going to lay down, because the "forgetting to breathe" is worse if I take the med.

Hmm..so I'm not sure if Mushroom and Bubba's Mom are describing the same phenomenon..what I'm talking about is unconscious and happens during sleep. But if it happens when you're awake, I suppose it could be an indication that it might happen when you are sleeping, so it might be worth looking into if you feel like you need to sleep more than 8 hours a night, have morning headaches, feel drowsy during inactivity, or any other symptoms of sleep disorder!

Basically the muscles around the throat and palate soften while we are sleeping, and for some people this means the airway gets fully obstructed (apnea) or partially obstructed (hypopnea). Either way the body has to partly rouse itself to increase the breathing effort (though often the person doesn't full wake up and isn't even aware of this) enough that the sleeping pattern is interrupted or disrupted. This leads to varying levels of sleep deprivation depending on how many times it happens during the night, but I'm told that it gets worse as you get older (ie more interruptions, more sleep deprivation).

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I wonder if I might have some form of sleep apnea, too. The problem is that I am very underweight. I will wake up out of a deep sleep and it is like I have forgotten how to breathe. Sometimes I have to leap out of bed to get a breath in. My doctor tried to tell me that I am having panic attacks in my sleep and put me on some kind of anti anxiety medication. It made no difference so I quit taking it. He seems to think I am imagining it. It doesn't happen every night, but I have found that when my chest feels tight, or heavy, like when my allergies seem to be acting up is when it happens most. It feels like I am breathing too shallow and not getting enough oxygen.

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No, you are not imagining it. I do that, breathe really shallow at night and slower and slower until I stop breathing altogether. It has nothing to do with weight. And I wake up with a start, really short of oxygen. They call them hypopneas. The doctors try to tell me I have an obstruction and try to put me on BiPAP, but that's worse because I can't breathe out against the pressure that is coming in and end up with too much CO2. I now use supplemental oxygen at night. :)

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No, you are not imagining it. I do that, breathe really shallow at night and slower and slower until I stop breathing altogether. It has nothing to do with weight. And I wake up with a start, really short of oxygen. They call them hypopneas. The doctors try to tell me I have an obstruction and try to put me on BiPAP, but that's worse because I can't breathe out against the pressure that is coming in and end up with too much CO2. I now use supplemental oxygen at night. :)

I am going in for a Dr. appointment on Monday (general checkup). My main concern was having my thyroid checked. I was wondering what I should do to get my Dr. to believe me. I haven't pressed the issue because it hasn't been happening as often lately. It had gotten really bad at one point happening multiple times each night, but has been about a week now since I have noticed it. However, I thought I always woke up when it happened, but my husband told me once of me shooting up in bed and taking a huge breath (gasping for a breath) and laying back down to sleep. I didn't remember doing it that night, but it made me wonder how often I do it without fully waking up.

Also, the really scary times are when I can't breath in. It is like my body has forgotten how. I know I need a breath, but relaxing enough (since the panic has jumped in) is hard. Those are the times I actually jump out of bed to breathe in. Crazy!

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You need to be referred to a sleep center for a polysomnography study. Yes, I can imagine how scary that would be if you CANNOT breathe in :blink:

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Thanks for all of the great info, mushroom! I can't wait to see what the doctor says about hyponeas. He totally blew me off about apnea since I am very underweight (even though I know that doesn't matter). I am not sure what his issues with referrals are. The more I complain about the sleep problem, the more he tells me it is panic attacks, or anxiety (I swear he is the one making me sound like I have anxiety by making me come back to complain!). He also dismisses my requests for a referral to a GI for my son who has chronic constipation and was vomitting daily for a month! (Sorry, venting) thanks again!

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Ok, I'm switching doctors. Talked to him about possible hypopneas. He told me I am having panic attacks and prescribed me Prozac!? These are not panic attacks, I do not have anxiety (HE, however, is CAUSING me anxiety)!

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This is my first post on this forum. I have not been diagnosed with celiac disease but I've been gluten free for 10 days and have had no toilet troubles for a over a week which is amazing! I'm 53 and my symptoms have been lifelong. I have sleep apnea and a c-pap machine. I stopped breathing 26 times per hour during the sleep study. I am overweight. I also stop breathing during the day. Sometimes I do what I call 'grabbing air'. Out of nowhere I will gasp almost like a sob, sucking in air. It totally catches me off guard. Sometimes I realize I wasn't breathing like others who have posted in this thread.

Before I figured out I had all of the symptoms of celiac disease I was sure I had some type of Dysautonomia. I am not sure if it's a separate illness or not. I get dizzy when I stand up and my heart pounds, vertigo, ears ringing, and many other annoying life-limiting symptoms. All of that has to do with the autonomic nervous system not doing it's job which is to take care of the things you shouldn't have to think about. Things like breathing, and heart rate, body temp, to name a few. As you stand up the blood vessels in your legs are supposed to constrict to fight the force of gravity on your blood flow and keep the blood flowing to your brain. My blood pressure drops when I stand up making me come very close to passing out.

This has been happening since I was a child and I have adapted to this problem by not doing anything that causes it. :( For example, if I want to look for a pan in the lower kitchen cupboards I have to sit on the floor and not bend over making me dizzy. It's sometimes called postural hypo-tension.

I say all of this to make the point that I think sleep apnea is a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system and I think gluten has all to do with it in my case. They have told me I have Fibromyalgia. Vitamin D is helping with the pain of that. I bruise terribly. My bruises are looking different-I'm lacking vitimin K. They are a different color than usual and going away faster now. I noticed this today. I am sleeping better. I'm still using the C-pap which helped right away when I started using it last March, but I feel much better since no gluten.

Now that I've been gluten free for 10 days those symptoms have almost disappeared. I was mentioning that to my husband today at the grocery store. I just realized I hadn't been dizzy for days. I think I have been showing symptoms of vitamin deficiencies my whole life due to what they called IBS which is likely celiac disease. I don't have health insurance so I won't be getting tested anytime soon.

It's totally worth it to get a C-Pap machine. It has helped, but if I can eliminate what causes my sleep apnea that would be amazing. I have something they call Alpha Delta sleep. I have awake brain waves during REM sleep. It wakes me up about every 2 minutes. I don't come fully awake but I never get fully rested. Even though my weight is an issue with apnea, I have had the Alpha Delta sleep at least since my 20's when I had a sleep study done about the same time I was diagnosed with FMS.

It's all too strange to not be connected. Just saying... I know what the placebo effect is. If I continue to feel even better as the months go by I'll know this is it. I'm so glad this forum is available. :)

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New member, first time posting.

I do not have a celiac diagnosis. My sister is not celiac, but she went gluten-free about 10 yrs ago. I have had about ten years worth of gastric reflux issues, have tried every medication for it with vary degrees of success. No long-term answer to my issues though, behavior mod helped for a while. That failed as well. I commented to my doctor several times, that I wondered if my issue wasn't acid production as much as lack of proper digestion. I got to the point that I felt like I was allergic to food in general. I never really got a response on that.

Recently, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea. In fact, I go tonight for a second sleep study to fit me for a CPAP. In the process of all of this, I took it upon myself to research my chronic symptoms. I was convinced that I was allergic to something. About 2 weeks ago, I decided to take it upon myself to cut gluten out of my diet. The result has been significant.

My husband says that I don't thrash about as much at night. I have had very few refux issues at night. I still am not sleeping as well as I should, but it's better. So, hopefully, the gluten-free thing and the CPAP will have me feeling better than I have in a great while.

I have to admit that I am a bit overwhelmed with the gluten-free adjustment. I have a lot of questions which I'll take to another board, as this thread seems to be geared toward the whole sleep issue.

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I have had sleep apnea for many years. I use a CPAP and after so many years I find it difficult to sleep without it.

I have just started the gluten free journey and after reading some of your posts, I wonder if going gluten-free will help my apnea.

I will let you know in a few months how it is going. :)

Kathi

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i have severe Sleep Apnea and wheat sensitivity and use a CPAP machine

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I also use a Cpap and am Celiac. Hmm Not sure it's because of Celiac, but I have it none the less. 

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I have always said that one cannot have just one autoimmune disease!  I have two types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central nervous system.  (My brain really does forget to tell my body to breath.)  I have had this for several years, and a few years ago my doctor added an oxygen concentrator to be used with my VPAP machine.  (I was upgraded from a CPAP two years ago.)  I was only diagnosed with Celiac disease six months ago.  I have had Fibromyalgia since I was in my late 20's and was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when I was 58.  I'll be 70 in two months and can't wait to see what the next decade brings.  

I don't think there is any connection between sleep apnea and Celiac disease any more that I think that MS is responsible for me having other autoimmune diseases.  

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