Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome
Snoring is often thought of as funny, except to maybe the partner of the person doing the snoring. In some cases, snoring does not have any effect on the person doing it. However, it can progress from just a noise to a harmful condition called sleep apnea. The first step in this transition is called upper airway resistance syndrome. Treasure Valley Oral & Facial Surgery can help.
What is Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome?
Snoring is a sound that is made when air passes over relaxed, soft tissue in the throat, creating a vibrating sound. This same sound can be quite irritating for anyone who has to share a room with the one making it. When you snore, there is a resistance in your upper respiratory system. The larger the resistance, the more effort you need to breathe.
Upper airway resistance syndrome is also called UARS. It is similar to obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, but also quite different. The soft tissue in the throat relaxes, reducing the size of the airway. This increases the resistance in your upper airway. It occurs when breathing effort crosses over from harmless snoring into something that could potentially become the sleep disorder called sleep apnea.
Causes of UARS
The causes of UARS are very similar to those that cause OSA. You may develop UARS because you have a naturally small airway. It can occur if loose, fatty tissues in the throat fall into the airway. It can also occur if the tongue falls back into the airway and partially blocks it. You may develop UARS as a result of getting older or gaining weight. Pregnant women who are in their third trimester may also develop the condition. Not everyone who has UARS snores, but they may have heavy or labored breathing while they sleep.
The Difference Between UARS and OSA
UARS and OSA are similar, but they are not the same thing. Similar to OSA, the brains of those with OSA need to frequently rouse from deeper stages of sleep to breathe. When you are unable to achieve the deeper stages of sleep, your brain cannot perform other important functions. As a result, you may develop chronic fatigue and daytime sleepiness.
One of the biggest differences between UARS and OSA is that the same pauses in breathing and decreases in breathing present in those with OSA are either low or absent in those with UARS. OSA is also related to more long-term health issues, such as hypertension, heart disease, and more. UARS is not. However, if you do not treat UARS, you can develop OSA and these health problems.
How is UARS Treated?
Treating UARS is important for preventing the condition from turning into OSA. Lifestyle changes like changing sleep position, eating right, exercising, and avoiding alcohol may be recommended. A dental appliance may be recommended. This is an oral device that helps to keep your jaw in proper alignment and preventing tissues from blocking your airway. You may also be recommended a C-PAP machine. In some cases, however, surgery may be required to achieve the best possible results.
Treating upper airway resistance syndrome can help to prevent your snoring from turning into sleep apnea. If you suspect that your snoring may be a cause for concern, contact Treasure Valley Oral & Facial Surgery today at (208) 343-0909.