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ASun, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 116
Experience:  MD, MPH, specialized in internal medicine
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numb thighs when sleep

Customer Question

I have sleep apnea. I used to be up all night. Now that I have a oxygen mask I sleep a good 5 hours and my body is not used to be still for so long. First I used to just wake up with an stiff body but it would go away after walking around in mornig, then my right thigh started getting numb after sleeping on my right side, but would also go away after walking in mornig. My left side was fine and then it started getting numb after awhile. I used to be able to sleep on my back but the left started getting numb even when on my back and now when on my back they both get numb. This all started changing every couple days or maybe a week. The numbness seems to also be getting worse ,and taking longer to go away in morning. The next thing that started is when I go to move numb thigh in morning I get a quick sharp burning pain where it is numb. I am about 100lbs over weight and I want to make sure it is not diabeties and will get legs cut off. Could I have a pinched nerve,and how bad is this
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  ASun replied 7 years ago.
Valerie, to check for diabetes, you should have your fasting glucose checked. It is true that overweight can make diabetes a greater risk, but losing even a few percent of your body weight can do great things for your overall health, including reducing diabetic risk and even in some cases reversing or improving diabetes that has developed. On the other hand this does not sound like diabetes. Neuropathy from diabetes persists and tends not to get better like this. It usually involves just the feet first.

What you have experienced sounds like an effect of your longer sleep duration now that you are breathing better with the CPAP. Just like when you sit too long in one position and your legs can go to sleep from compression on a nerve, the same thing can happen to you during sleep. One thing that may help is to place a pillow between your knees to prevent excessive pressure on the lower leg. Alternating sleeping side should also help, but if you are on the same side all night long, the numbness could still be a problem. And finally, if the pillows and changes in position do not help, a low airflow bariatric hospital bed may be what you need to help distribute your weight evenly during sleep and also to help prevent pressure ulcers.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
What are pressure ulcers? And am I damageing nerves, because it is getting worse and the burning is getting worse. I will definately try the pillow and I know I have to loose weight.
Expert:  ASun replied 7 years ago.
When someone stays in the same position for a very long time, such as when acutely ill in the hospital, they can develop bedsores in areas that are under more pressure, such as the buttocks and hips.