Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome: What You Need to Know

Do you awaken fatigued and irritable, feeling like you didn’t sleep well, even though you can’t remember waking up? Does your partner describe your snoring as more like labored breathing? Have your dentist check you for signs of UARS: upper airway resistance syndrome.

At Chelsea Dental Aesthetics located conveniently in Manhattan, New York City, New York, Dr. David Blaustein can help pinpoint the real source of your sleep issues and may be able to help you avoid having to sleep hooked up to a facemask and a hose.

Upper airway resistance syndrome explained

Scientists differ on their acceptance of UARS as a standalone diagnosis, typically describing it as falling on a spectrum of sleep disorders between snoring and OSAS. However, there are some specific differences between UARS and OSAS.

Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the fatty tissues of the throat and the back of the tongue close off the airway during sleep as muscles relax. This causes a temporary cessation of breath, before the automatic fail-safe provided by your brain kicks in and forces the muscles to contract. 

You might make a loud snore, wheeze, or even a slight gasping or choking noise as your respiratory system jumpstarts back into motion. In most cases, you won’t ever wake up, just repeat the cycle over and over. People who have OSAS are often obese, and most commonly Caucasian and male. 

Upper airway resistance syndrome

Upper airway resistance usually starts as snoring, and is caused by narrowing of the airway that can be similar to the cause of OSAS, but without the complete closing of the airway. 

However, the difficulty in breathing still reduces the amount of oxygen delivered, meaning you’ll breathe with difficulty all night and may fail to get down into deep sleep, leading to daytime sleepiness and fatigue.

USAS is seen more in women than in men, and victims are typically of average weight. Other symptoms, such as gastroesophageal reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, and anxiety, are also often present.

Treatment for UARS and OSAS

The first line of treatment for sleep apnea is often a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine, which uses a consistent flow of air through a hose into a tight-fitting face mask to keep your airway open. However, this can be difficult to get used to, and cause chronic dry mouth and other unpleasant symptoms.

Dr. Blaustein can evaluate you for an oral appliance, which gently positions your jaw while you sleep to keep your mouth and throat in a certain position. This prevents your airway from closing, so you can sleep comfortably all night long. Whether you have simple snoring issues, UARS or the more severe OSAS, this could be an option for you.

If you would like to be evaluated for an oral appliance in order to get a good night’s sleep at last, contact our office at 917-633-7312, or book your appointment online today.

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