People who suffer from breaks in their breathing at night are often diagnosed with sleep apnea. However, this diagnosis is often incorrect: many times, people are actually suffering from Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (or UARS), a condition that causes similar problems, but which is caused by obstructions in your throat. Understanding the differences can help you get a more accurate diagnosis from your doctor.
Understanding The Differences
The major difference between UARS and sleep apnea lies in the number of pauses (or apneas) that occur during the night. Someone with severe sleep apnea often suffers from as many as 30 pauses in breath in an hour. However, someone with UARS usually suffers from five or less, though that number varies depending on the person.
Sleep apnea is also more common in people who are overweight. So if you suffer from sleep apnea-type symptoms without also suffering from a weight problem, there's a good chance you have UARS, rather than sleep apnea.
Symptoms Of UARS
The symptoms of UARS are diverse, and not all of them are related to sleep. For example, it may cause "acid reflux disease" due to the way it disrupts your digestion at night.
Common symptoms of UARS include:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Insomnia (due to breaks in breathing)
- Frequent nighttime urination
- Grinding teeth during sleep
- Poor memory
If you suffer from any of these concerns, there's a good chance you may suffer from UARS. Other symptoms that set it apart from sleep apnea include low blood pressure, poor circulation (resulting in cold hands and feet), and difficulty sleeping on your back.
Treatments For UARS
One nice thing about UARS is that the treatment methods for it and sleep apnea are essentially the same. The most commonly prescribed treatment for both is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure or CPAP machines.
This method utilizes a breathing machine that helps keep the obstructions in your throat from causing a stoppage in your breathing. However, other treatments for UARS include:
- Mouth guards (that keep the mouth open)
- Positional therapy (or sleeping on your side)
- Nasal steroids
- Weight loss
The method utilized for you will vary, depending on your personal needs. For example, if your symptoms are relatively light, you may be able to get away with simply sleeping on your side. However, extreme cases (in which a person's life is threatened) make surgery to remove the obstructions necessary.
Now that you better understand UARS and sleep apnea, you should talk to your sleep specialist right away to see what can be done. Sometimes, it might be necessary to even see an oral surgeon or dentist to ensure that you get the right procedure.
For more information, contact Sunshine Dentistry or a similar location.