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Can Mitral Valve Prolapse Cause Fatigue and Sleep Problems?

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Can Mitral Valve Prolapse Cause Fatigue and Sleep Problems?

MVP and Fatigue

Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms reported by people with mitral valve prolapse syndrome. Fatigue is the feeling of extreme sluggishness or exhaustion, which often involves muscle weakness and can bring about challenges in performing even basic tasks. It is comparable to the tired and achy feeling you have when you have the flu; however, fatigue can last longer and recur more often. In a study of almost 2000 patients conducted by Dr. Philip Watkins in 1997 92 patients reported fatigue as their most common complaint.

Fatigue can hit your body even if you may not have done anything tiring. One might feel as if the energy has drained right out of their body.

What causes Fatigue?

Unfortunately, the reason is not completely understood yet. There are several theories that relate to the functioning of the autonomic nervous system. It has been suggested that because of the imbalance of the autonomic nervous system the blood vessels do not dilate or constrict properly. This can alter proper blood flow to the entire body. If the blood flow to large muscles of the body is restricted, there may be a build-up of a chemical called lactic acid. This lactic acid accumulates because the large muscles are not getting sufficient oxygen or nourishment, which may also contribute to burning feeling in the muscles. Therefore, fatigue may be a result of a higher-than normal production of lactic acid.

How to combat Fatigue?

Learn to pace yourself so you won’t become overtired. To do that, you need to know a lot about your body’s reactions to different things. You need to analyse your lifestyle. Ask yourself:

  • At what time of day does my fatigue start?
  • Is It worse at one time of the day than at any other time?
  • What adds to my fatigue?
  • What helps to decrease it?
  • Am I consuming too much sugar?

Remember, sugar will give you a momentary boost of energy at the cost of a terrible energy drain shortly after you ingest it. Read our article on foods to avoid with MVP

MVP and Sleep Problems

Getting enough sleep when you have mitral valve prolapse syndrome is often easier said than done. Sleep problems are one of the most common among MVP patients. The majority of the complaints seem to fall into the category of insomnia. People often face:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Waking up frequently and difficulty falling back asleep
  • Waking up too early
  • Not feeling refreshed after sleep

This type of sleep pattern can be a significant contributing factor to fatigue. Ask yourself:

  • Do low-level noises interfere my sleep?
  • Does my partner frequently turn over in bed, or snore?

Consider either using earplugs or sleeping in a separate quiet room. Sometimes a white noise machine can mask disturbing sounds. If you’re sensitive to light, make sure your bedroom is dark before you get into bed. If your mattress isn’t comfortable, get a new one.

How to combat Sleep Problems?

Develop a good sleep hygiene. Good sleep hygiene involves changing your bedtime habits so that they’re more conducive to sleep.

  • Pay attention to how your naps affect you. Long periods of daytime resting and/or sleeping in your bed may change your ability to get to sleep at bedtime.
  • Give yourself a wind-dow’n time before going to bed.
  • Do not exercise or eat a large meal before going to sleep.
  • Consider taking a hot bath before going to bed.
  • Follow night time rituals.
  • Avoid caffeine. (Read our article on how caffeine affects MVP)
  • Exercise early in the morning and avoiding exercise late in the day.
  • Avoiding alcohol prior to retiring for bed is also helpful.

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