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My husband has sleep apnoea and I turn him over several times in a night for snoring or to get him to breathe again (sometimes he stops for around a minute). It is worse when he has had any alchohol. Well last night he had a about 8 drinks for New year and he was very tired. We went to bed about 11.00pm. At 2.00am I awoke suddenly because he appeared to be having some sort of fit. He was making strange grunting noises and his feet were jerking - but it seemed to be semi-rhythmic, not random like in a dream and I couldn't wake him straight away. It lasted about a minute and really frightened me. I havnt told him yet as He is attending a training school week for his Horse riding and it is very important to him and I dont want to upset him in case its nothing (he is a bit of a worrier). Could this have been a seizure brought about through lack of oxygen or does it mean something more sinister? He has never done this before - asleep or awake. He had a bad bout of shingles a couple of months ago that lasted for about 2 months. Apart from the normal aches, pains and a little anxiety, he is healthy.


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replied January 15th, 2007
Sleep Disorders Answer A2121
Situations experienced during sleep such as the one you’ve described (“making strange grunting noises and his feet were jerking”), may at first appear to be seizures (epilepsy) but any episode must first be identified by an EEG. Sleep apnea may provoke seizures but it is not the main reason for their occurrence. You and your husband must consult a neurologist to exclude epilepsy as a possible diagnosis for these symptoms.
You should also consult an ENT to exclude an organic cause for the symptoms that may be present in his throat: an enlarged palatine’s uvula, tonsils or adenoids, for example. These conditions are conducive to the development of sleep apnea. Alcohol, obesity and using sedatives are additional risk factors for developing sleep apnea.

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