UARS - Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome

UARS is a condition where narrowing of the airway disrupts sleep resulting gin symptoms such as:

  • unrefreshing sleep
  • insomnia
  • daytime fatigue
  • difficulty concentrating
  • low mood and irritability
  • brain fog

Commonly known "Young, fit female syndrome", UARS is much more difficult to diagnose than sleep apnoea because the patient does not necessarily have the characteristic "apnoeas" that are the hallmark of an obstructive sleep apnoea diagnosis. UARS was discovered by Stanford Unviersity approximately 25-30 years ago. Epidemiological data has demonstrated a higher incidence of UARS in younger, leaner females. This is in stark contrast to OSA which is known to affect heavy males. The reason UARS is found more often in young, fit females is that smaller frames means narrower airways which makes them more prone to obstructions from structures such as the adenoids, tonsils, tongue and uvula. 

What differentiate UARS from OSA is the respiratory disturbances. As in sleep apnoea, the soft tissue of the airway in UARS patients relaxes while one sleeps. This reduces the size of the airway. The resulting increased effort to inhale results in an arousal in an effort to increase oxygenation. These recurrent microarousals are called Respiratory Effort-related Arousals (RERAs).

More often than not, the traditional indices or parameters used to measured sleep quality, such as Apnoea/Hypopnoea Index (AHI) and Oxygen Desaturation Index (ODI) are not as bad in UARS patients compared to sleep apnoea patients. This is because the patients are often so hypervigilant in their sleep that they never end up having a partial or complete obstruction.

The 'hypervigilance', whether is be conscious or subconscious, means an increased baseline level of sympathetic activity. This increase sympathetic drive while one sleeps can lead to impaired bowel functions as well as increased anxiety and panic attacks.

The implications of UARS on your short term and long term general health are profound:

Brain can't repair from daily activities resulting in:

  • Reduced or impaired consolidation of memories
  • Impaired removal of B-amyloid plaques. Their build up is known to be a causative factor in Alzheimer's disease
  • Impaired cognitive function and development

Increased risk of cancer due to:

  • The 70% reduction in the activity of natural killer cells which acts to help fight against cancer while we sleep

Increased sympathetic drive which results in

  • cardiovascular disease
  • stroke
  • impaired bowel movements - possibly irritable bowel syndrome
  • frequent visits to toilet while sleeping

Impairing many other body systems such as

  • Reproductive system
  • Metabolic system

Current UARS treatments do not treat the underlying causes. With new training in the field of craniofacial epigenetics, The Dental Station is now positioned to offer the latest treatment for UARS that can address the underlying issue of underdeveloped jaws.

The Vivos suite of oral appliances non-surgically alter the bone volume of the upper and lower jaws. These in turn improves the soft tissues supported by these bones. The end result is an increase in the airway volume of the nose and the nasopharynx and oropharynx.

We take a wholistic approach to our consultations for patients with sleep difficulties. For example:

- We take a thorough history of your sleep and your general health, trying to see if we can
connect symptoms or medical conditions back to poor sleep quality.

- We are able to organise home-based sleep studies that are reported on by sleep physicians.

- Anatomically, the airway is bordered at the front by the jaws and at the back by the cervical
spine. So we have a low-dose Cone Beam Imaging machine to take 3D images of your nasal
and pharyngeal airways, the upper and lower jaws as well as the cervical spine.

- We assess your posture, because many patients with obstructed airways posture their heads
forward to help open the airway.

- We have a working relationship with ENTs, speech pathologists, chiropractors, osteopaths
and ofcourse sleep physicians.

For someone suffering with poor sleep quality, the journey to seek help is convoluted. At the Dental Station, we simplify this and help you access the best treatment plan with a multidisciplinary approach. We tailor treatment to your needs.

“It’s not a one size fits all approach.”

Come in for a Sleep and Breathing Wellness consultation and see how we can help you!

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