What to Do About Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome: Treatments and Support

Snoring may be embarrassing, but is it harmful to your health? While snoring itself doesn’t hurt you, it can be a sign of an underlying sleep-related breathing disorder.

If snoring keeps you up at night, Dr. David Blaustein at Chelsea Dental Aesthetics can help. We treat snoring and nighttime breathing problems at our office in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. 

In this article, we shed light on upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS), how it's connected to snoring, and how we can help you get a better night’s sleep.

Understanding upper airway resistance syndrome 

Before we dive into the topic of UARS, let’s first take a look at snoring. Snoring is a sound that your body makes when air flows around relaxed tissue in your throat. The airflow vibrates, causing the telltale snoring sound. 

Occasional snoring (such as when you’re sick) may be nothing of concern. However, snoring can be an indication that there’s resistance in your upper respiratory system, that is, resistance to airflow caused by relaxed tissue or excess throat tissue.

The greater the resistance, the more effort it takes for the air to pass through. Upper airway resistance syndrome develops when the resistance and the effort it takes to push air past that resistance progress from harmless snoring to a potential red flag of sleep apnea.

UARS vs. sleep apnea

Upper airway resistance syndrome is similar to sleep apnea. One of the main differences between these two conditions is that sleep apnea is characterized by pauses in breathing. The pauses (apnea) during sleep can make you wake up choking and gasping for air. 

Although UARS does cause brief wake-ups during the night, snoring, and unrefreshing sleep, it’s not enough to meet all of the criteria of sleep apnea. 

Obstructive sleep apnea may cause more serious symptoms, including waking up gasping or choking, pauses in breathing, morning headaches, and daytime sleepiness.

Left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can contribute to long-term health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, heart arrhythmias, and stroke. Obesity, smoking, diabetes, and asthma can increase your risk of developing sleep apnea.

Explore your treatment options

Treatments for UARS are similar to the treatments for sleep apnea. This includes continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, oral devices, and lifestyle changes. 

CPAP machines

CPAP machines are more often used to treat obstructive sleep apnea and aren’t necessarily the go-to for upper airway resistance syndrome. CPAP provides a continuous flow of air, but the CPAP masks can be uncomfortable and noisy.

Oral appliances 

Oral appliances are another treatment for UARS. Custom oral devices hold the jaw in such a position to keep the airway open, and these devices are available at Chelsea Dental Aesthetics. 

Dr. Blaustein creates a custom mouthguard-like appliance so that you can sleep comfortably without the hassles of a noisy CPAP machine.

Lifestyle changes

Lifestyle changes can help reduce your risk of airway obstructions. These changes include losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, practicing good sleep hygiene, and managing any underlying conditions. 

Support for upper airway resistance syndrome

If you’re concerned about your snoring — or suspect you have UARS or sleep apnea — call our Manhattan office at 917-633-7312, or schedule your appointment online.

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