What is Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS)?
UARS is a condition where the patient has significant snoring which actually disrupts the patient’s sleep quality. It tends to cause arousals from deep sleep to a lighter level of sleep. The patient lacks restorative sleep and feels tired during the day.
sleep apnea vs UARS
UARS and sleep apnea both have snoring, resistance to airflow, reduction in airflow, and significant arousals from deep sleep to light sleep. Both leave the patient feeling tired and with frequent bed partner complaints. The difference is defined by the length of the reduction of airflow. If the episodes of reduction are for greater than 10 seconds it is classified as apnea. It is obviously somewhat arbitrary and it is important to understand that patients with both disorders may appear the same to a bed partner and both will have excessive daytime sleepiness. It is felt that sleep apnea has a greater medical risk than UARS including a greater risk for cardiac disease.
causes of UARS
The main causes are nasal and sinus blockage include the following:
- A long floppy soft palate
- Large tongue
- Weight gain
Sleep hygiene factors also contribute such as drinking alcohol before bed and sleeping on your back.
Signs you may be suffering from UARS
Snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness are the main symptoms. The bed partner may also witness partial cessation of breathing. We do a thorough evaluation in the office including a physical exam, nasal endoscopy, CT sinus, as well as a HST (home sleep study) to diagnose this condition.
Nasal and sinus procedures which can now be performed as simple office procedures under IV sedation can help tremendously. Our in office treatments include the following:
Elevation and stiffening of the soft palate is also an effective office procedure with our special minimally invasive technique whereby we trim the uvula and inject a special stiffening agent to the soft palate. Oral appliances can be very effective for the tongue base. Weight loss and sleep hygiene are also important.
Dangers of untreated UARS
There are medical risks such as hypertension, cardiac disease, diabetes, weight gain, and others but they are less with UARS then sleep apnea. The main issue is excessive daytime sleepiness, poor daytime performance, relationship issues, and increased risk of depression and anxiety.
Schedule a Consultation
For more information about Upper Airway Resistance System (UARS) treatments, call 512.601.0303 to schedule a consultation. Our practice serves Austin and surrounding areas in Texas.