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Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS)
The term ‘upper airway resistance syndrome’ denotes an entity characterized by the presence of daytime fatigue or sleepiness in the presence of a normal respiratory disturbance index and oxygen saturation. Despite some similarities, certain specific clinical and diagnostic features distinguish it from the obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. The essence of diagnosis lies in the documentation of increasing esophageal pressures during sleep with associated transient EEG arousals. Furthermore, the evidence suggests an abnormal blood pressure response to the changes in esophageal pressures and arousals.
Gastroesophageal Acid Reflux Disease (GERD)
GERD is a disease that refers to the clinical manifestations of reflux (backflow) of stomach contents into the esophagus. It is the most common disease of the esophagus, affecting up to 40% of adults. Typical symptoms of GERD include heartburn, abdominal discomfort, difficulty swallowing, and acid regurgitation. This acid irritates the esophagus because it doesn’t have a special lining to protect it like the stomach does.
GERD that occurs at night is called nocturnal GERD. Although reflux episodes occur less frequently at night than during the day, the esophagus lining is exposed to the stomach’s corrosive contents much longer at night. When you lie in bed, the protective effect of gravity is lessened. Researchers also believe that apnea episodes may cause a negative pressure in the esophagus which will then work like a vacuum to bring the acid up from the stomach. Complications of nocturnal GERD include erosive esophagitis and the precancerous condition Barrett’s esophagus, as well as esophageal cancer. Sometimes the acid comes all the way up into the mouth where it can cause damage to the teeth. Your dentist should look for this during periodic exams.
Many people who have been successfully treated for apnea have experienced a reduction in GERD symptoms.
Sleep Apnea FAQs
Many people don’t get good quality sleep, and they don’t know why. In the past, you would need to go into a lab for a sleep study, but now you can get this valuable information from the comfort of your own home. A home sleep study involves a monitor that tracks your breathing while you’re asleep to determine if there are any interruptions. Once you know what the issue is, it can be addressed.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep breathing disorder that occurs when the tongue and soft palate collapse onto the back of the throat, blocking the airway and causing airflow to stop. When proper airflow is hindered, blood oxygen levels drop, which can cause one to partially wake from sleep. As such, the condition causes fragmented sleep and can lead to a range of issues, including daytime sleepiness, as well as an increased risk of severe health problems like heart attack, stroke, weight gain, diabetes, mood problems, depression, and sexual dysfunction.
There are a number of risk factors that can contribute to the development of obstructive sleep apnea. These include weight gain, snoring, aging, having a family history of the condition, and malformation of the orofacial area (such as misaligned teeth, jaw, and palate). Teeth grinding (also known as bruxism) can also lead to obstructive sleep apnea, while menopause, polycystic ovarian syndrome and a deficiency of progesterone or estrogen can also be risk factors. The anatomy and physiology of the airway play an important role, and those with a small jaw or thick neck are generally at greater risk of developing the disorder.