Many people snore, and it may seem like a harmless thing. However, it can be a sign of a condition. One of the issues people can face is an obstructive sleep disorder. Known as upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS), it can disrupt sleep cycles. Understanding what UARS is and how to treat it can improve your daily life.
Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome: What Is It?
UARS is a less severe type of obstructive sleep apnea. The condition occurs when the throat's tissues begin to relax. This results in the passway narrowing, and the airflow becomes obstructed.
While UARS is not as serious as sleep apnea, it still affects a person at night and during the day. Many people deal with the sleeping condition, and you can relieve its effects.
You may find that the symptoms of UARS are similar to those of obstructive sleep apnea. However, they are more mild in comparison. The symptoms are:
Daytime tiredness: UARS causes sleep disturbances. People are unable to get a good night's sleep. Therefore, they experience fatigue during the day.
Mood disturbances: Poor sleep due to UARS means people get less of it. Reduced sleep can lead to a negative change in a person's mood. You may feel more irritable, angry, or stressed.
Snoring: The reduced airflow causes the relaxed tissues to vibrate when air passes through.
Issues with cognitive abilities: Sleep disturbances can cause impairments in memory. Thinking and focusing become challenging to do as well.
Speak with your physician if you experience any of the above.
How It Is Diagnosed
Your dentist may notice signs of UARS during a regularly scheduled visit. They screen you for possible sleep disorders and refer you to a physician. The doctor is the one who performs a sleep study test known as a polysomnogram.
A polysomnogram usually occurs at night, and it monitors your sleep cycles. The device records your blood oxygen levels, brain waves, heart rate, leg movements, and breathing. The results show whether you suffer from UARS.
How It Is Treated
Lifestyle changes may help alleviate symptoms of UARS. An example would be altering sleep positions. Sleeping on your back can contribute to UARS. Other behavioral measures include getting enough exercise, limiting alcohol at night, and avoiding blue light before you sleep.
Your dentist can help treat UARS once you receive a diagnosis. A common way to deal with UARS is to use an oral appliance. Many people choose this option first since it is convenient and practical.
Your dentist takes your impressions and gives you an appliance that resembles an oral retainer. Like a retainer, the custom piece fits your bite. The oral appliance supports your jaw and stops the soft tissues in the throat from collapsing. Your airway stays open, and you do not have to worry about snoring and sleep disturbances.
Another form of treatment is a therapy called continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). CPAP can help with UARS, especially if the condition worsens and becomes sleep apnea. During the therapy, you would wear a mask that connects to a device.
The machine delivers a fixed air pressure through the mask. As a result, the airway stays open, and breathing can improve. The doctor may adjust the pressure level if symptoms do not get better.
A small number of people may need surgery to treat UARS. The procedure increases the airway's size to reduce the chance of it collapsing.
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