What is Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome
Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS) is defined as any difficulty with breathing at the time of exhalation.
The problem is often experienced by those with sleep apnea and more frequently develops when a person is asleep with the mouth closed.
It presents as a choking feeling in the throat and can be very loud or quiet in intensity.
The symptoms are most often felt during waking hours, but may also occur during periods of low activity.
Types of Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome
There are four specific types of upper airway resistance syndrome.
Urogenital Urinitus (UVRS) – is generally caused by stress, infection, medications, diabetes, or menopause.
Symptoms of UVRS include the following
- Loud snoring
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Painful urination
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and
- Other urinary disorders
Treatment for UVRS depends on the cause.
If possible, patients are encouraged to avoid substances that might be irritating to the eyes (e.g., fragranced scented candles, strong tea, spicy foods).
In addition, patients are advised to sleep on their side instead of on their back to maintain proper breathing.
Oral Urethral Stenosis (OWS) – is caused by the narrowing of the urethra, which becomes narrow with age.
The narrow urethra prevents the passage of urine while at rest.
The treatment options for OWS usually involve drastic lifestyle changes, such as reducing alcohol intake and quitting smoking.
Some doctors may recommend physical therapy to aid in the treatment of OWS.
Other treatment options include the use of an anti-snoring device, the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask during sleep, the use of special diets, and the use of drugs to treat symptoms of OWS.
Sleep Apnea: Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the commonest type of upper airway resistance syndrome.
This condition causes pauses in breathing during the night. Some people don’t even realize they have sleep apnea, since it doesn’t disrupt conversation.
However, those who suffer from OSA experience daytime sleepiness and snoring.
While sleep apnea is the most common cause of OSA, some patients with the disorder experience no symptoms.
The exact cause of OSA is unknown. However, researchers do know the factors that increase the risk of having the following disorder but not limited to these
- High blood pressure
- Diabetes, and
- A sedentary lifestyle
There are certain types of foods that are more likely to cause OSA, such as fatty foods, cheese, tomato-based products, and spicy foods.
Other foods that are less likely to trigger the symptoms include eggs, chicken, fish, wheat, and many dairy products.
Certain medications, such as sedatives and antidepressants, can also contribute to the causes of OSA.
Treatments for Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome
Treatments for Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome vary, depending on the severity of your condition.
If you suffer from mild OSA, you may be advised to avoid spicy foods, caffeinated beverages, and dairy products.
You may be given medication to reduce your snoring, sleep apnea exercises, and nasal strips or sprays.
In more severe cases of this sleep disorder, oral appliances may be used, such as jaw supporters and mandibular advancement splints.
In some extreme cases, surgery may be required.
As always, a visit to your doctor is the first step toward treatment for your upper airway resistance syndrome.
One case series that showed successful treatment of upper airway resistance syndrome with oral devices was a child whose sleep apnea had become too severe for medical treatment to effectively remedy it.
After trying several different over-the-counter snoring remedies, her physician found that her problem was not caused by her noisy bed, but rather by a deviated septum.
The septum was surgically corrected, and her sleep apnea problem was solved, allowing her to return to snorkeling and diving activities she enjoyed prior to her snoring problem.
Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome is not only a problem of snorers but of people suffering from other sleep disorders as well.
It is an extremely common condition. In fact, it affects as many as one-third of the population.
However, the true cause of Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome is still unknown, and the reason for its occurrence in certain people may not be as simple as one would like for it to be.
In most cases, however, this sleep disorder can be successfully treated with the proper treatments recommended by physicians.