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Can Nasal Congestion Cause Sleep Apnea

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Lifestyle Changes Are Essential

Contribution of Nasal Congestion to Sleep Apnea

It is just as important to make certain lifestyle changes if you hope to avert the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea and non-allergenic rhinitis. Obtaining an adequate amount of exercise, quitting smoking, eating healthy, and losing weight are all extremely effective recommendations.

Above all, consult with your physician in order to be provided with even more targeted guidance and advice.

Nasal congestion and obstructive sleep apnoea share a number of factors in common and the presence of one will certainly exacerbate the symptoms of the other. This is why getting tested for OSA is very important.

There are numerous solutions at your disposal and the first step towards enjoying a restful night of sleep involves an accurate diagnosis. You will be pleasantly surprised at how seemingly minor changes can have a dramatic effect within a relatively short period of time.

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How Do The Sinuses Contribute To Osa

The sinuses are bony pockets around the eyes and nose that are lined with mucus-producing tissues. This mucus serves to humidify air inhaled through the nose while filtering out harmful particles. Healthy sinuses are able to drain this mucus and these harmful air particles regularly. However, in a patient with sinusitis, this drainage pathway has become compromised. As a result, inhaled air is unable to enter the sinus and mucus is similarly unable to exit. This can impede airflow into your lungs and contribute to obstructive sleep apnea. Moreover, other classic symptoms of sinusitis such as post nasal drainage, facial pressure, and headache may further disrupt bedtime comfort and lead to poor quality sleep.

Does Nasal Congestion And Allergies Cause Sleep Apnea

When you have nasal congestion, you are unable to breathe properly at any time throughout the day. However, at night, you will likely notice that it is more difficult to fall asleep because of stuffed or runny sinuses. This blockage prevents you from staying asleepjust as with sleep apnea. One of your first lines of defense against nasal congestion is a NetiPot, which helps clear your nasal passages. After talking to your doctor, if a few rounds with a NetiPot does not work, then you should seek medical care as it may be sinusitis.

But are sleep apnea and sinus infections related, and can you avoid sleep apnea by treating sinusitis?

OSA is a sleep disorder while sinusitis is a temporary infection. Once you have successfully treated sinus problems, you will not suffer from breathing problems at night that were caused by a sinus infection. This means that sinusitis will eventually clear itself or may be treated with antibiotics. Whereas OSA is a disorder that is manageable and relatively benign but for which there is not a medication-based cure.

Note that there are two types of nasal congestions that can increase your risk factor for OSA:

To be diagnosed with OSA, you will need to get a sleep study through a medical provider at home or in a sleep study clinic. Based on your sleep test results, your doctor may recommend a CPAP machine for treating your sleep apnea.

Learn more about our home sleep apnea test kit.

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Causes Of Nasal Congestion

You may find yourself more congested than usual during allergy season , but congestion can be caused by other factors as well.

  • Nasal polyps. These are growths in the nasal passages or the sinuses. They are noncancerous and painless, but they can make it difficult to breathe properly and give you a sense of pressure in your face. Medication may shrink nasal polyps, but sometimes surgery is needed to remove them.
  • Deviated septum. The septum separates the nasal passages, and oftentimes a septum does not split the nasal passages evenly. If it is displaced to one side or another it means that one nasal passage is smaller than the other. Besides congestion, a deviated septum can result in nosebleeds, facial pain, and recurring sinus infections. It causes nasal congestion and makes breathing difficult. Surgery is needed to fix a deviated septum.

What Happens When You Stop Breathing

Chronic Nasal Congestion

When you stop breathing, your heart rate also tends to drop the longer your body is deprived of oxygen. Then, your involuntary reflexes cause you to startle awake at the end of that period of not breathing. When this occurs, your heart rate tends to accelerate quickly and your blood pressure rises.

These are changes that take place acutely when you stop breathing. However, your body starts to experience chronic effects if you experience frequent apnea. Data suggests increased risk, particularly when you stop breathing roughly 30 times or more per hour. But there is likely a risk at even lower frequency rates.

For example, your blood pressure tends to go up, your heart walls thicken due to increased workload and the structure of your heart changes. It tends to become stiffer and less flexible because there are more fibrous cells growing in between the muscle cells.

All of those things increase the risk that you can have either atrial or ventricular arrhythmias. They also tend to reduce the function of the heart so that its less efficient at pumping blood.

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Is There A Connection Between Sinusitis And Sleep Apnea

Medical research has shown that just because you are diagnosed with sleep apnea does not mean you will automatically develop sinusitis and vice versa. There is a slight increase that an individual with sleep apnea will also develop sinusitis, but the research is fuzzy on a clear link between the two.

A 2016 study is one of the most often cited scholarly articles on the topic, but it doesnt offer conclusive answers. Researchers followed 971 people with OSA, as well as 4,855 people not diagnosed with OSA, for five years. The researchers reported fewer than seven percent of people with OSA were later diagnosed with sinusitis. Among those without OSA, only two percent developed sinusitis, therefore there is no conclusive evidence linking the two.

A year later, doctors from Northwestern University and Rush University Medical Center studied general sleep disruptions in individuals with chronic rhinosinusitis. They noticed in preparation for their research that the medical community had not yet found any consistent links between the two.

What Causes Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses during sleep. Central sleep apnea is usually observed in patients with central nervous system dysfunction, such as following a stroke or in patients with neuromuscular diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis . It is also common in patients with heart failure and other forms of heart, kidney or lung disease.

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Allergies Colds & Sinus Problems

Another cause of congestion and discomfort for some people is that another condition is worsening the problem. For example, if you’re prone to allergies, battling a cold, or have chronic sinus problems or a deviated septum, you may be more likely to experience nasal congestion and irritation as part of your CPAP therapy.

Sinusitis And Sleep Apnea Treatment With Balloon Sinuplasty

Nasal Congestion and CPAP – Sleep Apnea Thousand Oaks -Malibu – Westlake Village – Dr. Ronald Popper

One of the newest and most effective sleep apnea and sinus snoring treatments is balloon sinuplasty. During the balloon sinuplasty procedure, a physician inserts a small, partially-inflated balloon and a saline solution into your sinuses. This procedure should open up your obstructed sinus passageways.

Once healthy drainage has been restored, you should be able to breathe through your nose again, which significantly lessens the likelihood of snoring and sleep apnea. If balloon sinuplasty isnt the best treatment for you, a different chronic sinusitis surgery procedure will likely be available.

If you think you may have undiagnosed chronic sinusitis and sleep apnea, it may be useful to participate in a sleep study. In these studies, you are monitored during sleep to diagnose whether or not you have a sleep disorder, as well as to establish the severity of that disorder.

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How Can Dr Bublik Help

Dr. Bublik is a triple board certified physician specializing in treating allergies and diseases of the ear, nose, and throat. He is highly skilled in treatment of sinuses with medication or minimally invasive procedures including functional endoscopic sinus surgery and in-office balloon sinuplasty. Dr. Bublik and his team are committed to improving your sleep and sinus health! Contact his office at or info@drbublik.com to make an appointment today!

What Causes Nasal Congestion

Having a stuffy nose can interfere with every aspect of your life from concentrating at work to eating. It can especially affect how you sleep just making it tough to sleep or causing you to snore loudly. So, what causes nasal congestion, what can you do about it, and when should you see a doctor about it?

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Home Remedies For Chronic Sinusitis And Sleep Apnea

If you regularly deal with chronic sinusitis and sleep apnea, we highly recommend seeing your doctor. However, there are steps you can take on your own to find some relief. These steps include:

  • Quit smoking to decrease additional tissue inflammation in your airways.
  • Take a break from alcohol . Sedatives may have the same effect.
  • Weight loss and regular exercise may help alleviate sleep apnea symptoms.
  • Get tested for food and airborne allergies to see if your sinus passageways are becoming inflamed by allergens, as well as chronic sinusitis.
  • Maintain healthy sleeping habits, which include going to bed and waking up at consistent times, avoiding caffeine after midday, and eating your last meal no less than two hours before bedtime.
  • Nasal Treatment In Osas


    Treatment options for cases with nasal obstruction include nasal dilators, medical treatment, and surgical intervention. Some clinical trials have been performed, aiming to analyze the therapeutic possibilities however, the evaluation of the results was not uniformly objective. Many of the studies are not randomized, do not include a control group, and have a small sample size and relatively short follow-up period .

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    Causes Of Sleep Apnea

    Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when a persons breathing frequently pauses during their sleep. This pause during breathing often wakes up the patient with sleep apnea resulting in an unrestful night of sleep.

    Sleep apnea and snoring are often conflated. The two sleep disorders result from very similar causes, and snoring is the main symptom of obstructive sleep apnea. However, with sleep apnea, the patient stops breathing altogether .

    This phenomenon occurs because the sleepers throat muscles have either collapsed too much or are obstructed by oversized organs. These interruptions can occur as many as 30 times during just one hour of sleep.

    Can sleep apnea be caused by congestion? In fact, congestion is the main link between chronic sinusitis and sleep apnea. The following additional conditions can contribute to your sinus problems and snoring and can increase the severity of your snoring and sleep apnea:

    • Sinusitis
    • Getting up frequently to urinate during the night
    • Increased likelihood of heart disease and stroke

    People who struggle with both sinusitis and sleep apnea are very likely to have sinus sleep problems, problems that extend beyond chronic sinusitis fatigue. The sleep time of a sleep apnea patients bed partner is often disturbed, too, and sleep partners may share some of the same symptoms.

    Stop Snoring From Harassing Your Family And Disrupting Your Sleep

    Snoring isnât a harmless noise. Not only does it disrupt your sleep, but it disrupts the sleep of your partner and family, and itâs also a sign of a more serious health issue. Whether youâve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, sinusitis, or both, finding whatâs causing this issue matters if you ever want your life to return to a happier, healthier state.

    After you find out whatâs causing your snoring and breathing issues, itâs time to take action to experience breathing out of your nose without congestion, blockages, or snoring.

    Can we share two quick secrets with you about sleep apnea and sinusitis?

  • Your medical therapy, mouthguards, and nasal strips wonât bring you long-term results.
  • CPAP and sinus surgery are no longer your only long-term treatment options.
  • Take the first step towards relief with Dr. Gilmore and North Texas Sinus Center by learning more about your options below and by scheduling an appointment with one of the Dallas areaâs leading ENT physicians today.

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    It Is Prudent To Question All New Patients And Existing Patients With Dry Mouth From Oat About Nasal Congestion

    Other possible treatments include sodium cromoglicate nasal spray. This drug is usually used if there is a problem with other treatments. The problem with this spray is that it must be taken 4-5 times per day as compared to once or twice for corticosteroid spray. Leukotriene antagonist drugs such as Accolate and Singulair can be used, but have been associated with mood and behavioral changes and other side effects. They are generally considered less effective than nasal corticosteroid sprays. Over the counter oral decongestants containing pseudoephedrine can be used for congestion but have side effects such as insomnia, irritability, nervousness, heart palpitations, and can raise blood pressure. Sudafed, Claritin-D, Allegra-D, and Zyrtec-D are common names of drugs with pseudoephedrine. Experimentally, the use of capsaicin, an ingredient that makes peppers hot, has been shown to reduce rhinitis for as long as 36 weeks.

    If medications fail, immunotherapy is an alternative. More commonly called allergy shots this therapy hopes to reduce sensitivity to the allergen. The allergen must be first identified, then injected in increasing doses until desensitivity occurs. The injection is usually given twice a week, and then in increasing doses until a maintenance dose is achieved. It can take up to three years to reach a maintenance dose and then this dose may be continued for up to five years. However, symptom relief can begin within three to six months.

    Try Allergy Medicines Like Antihistamines To Reduce The Nasal Congestion

    How to solve nasal congestion when using CPAP

    Selective or non-selective antihistamines can be effective for nasal congestion from allergies. Its important to consider that some antihistamines can cause drowsiness. There are also nasal steroids available that may help. Talk to your doctor about this.

    If none of these tips help to relieve your symptoms, you should talk to your doctor or an ENT to evaluate your symptoms.

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    What Are The Treatments For Sleep Apnea

    Conservative treatments: In mild cases of obstructive sleep apnea, conservative therapy may be all that is needed.

    • Overweight persons can benefit from losing weight. Even a 10% weight loss can reduce the number of apneic events for most patients. However, losing weight can be difficult to do with untreated obstructive sleep apnea due to increased appetite and metabolism changes that can happen with obstructive sleep apnea.
    • Individuals with obstructive sleep apnea should avoid the use of alcohol and certain sleeping pills, which make the airway more likely to collapse during sleep and prolong the apneic periods.
    • In some patients with mild obstructive sleep apnea, breathing pauses occur only when they sleep on their backs. In such cases, using a wedge pillow or other devices that help them sleep in a side position may help.
    • People with sinus problems or nasal congestion should use nasal sprays or breathing strips to reduce snoring and improve airflow for more comfortable nighttime breathing. Avoiding sleep deprivation is important for all patients with sleep disorders.

    Hypoglossal nerve stimulator: A stimulator is implanted under the skin on the right side of the chest with electrodes tunneled under the skin to the hypoglossal nerve in the neck and to intercostal muscles in the chest. The device is turned on at bedtime with a remote control. With each breath, the hypoglossal nerve is stimulated, the tongue moves forward out of the airway and the airway is opened.

    How Sleep Apnea Affects The Sinuses

    People respiratory disorders like Sleep Apnea often breathe through their mouths while sleeping. During mouth breathing, the brain often registers that carbon dioxide levels in the body are too low or being expelled too quickly. As a result of this, the brain feels the need to slow the process of breathing down. In order to do this, the brain stimulates activity in the goblet cells. The goblet cells in the body produce mucus the mucus slows breathing and causes blood vessels in the sinuses to constrict.

    When the nasal passages become partially, or completely obstructed, it becomes harder for the respiratory system to transfer air in and out of the passages this requires more work and therefore more energy to be used. There are delicate, collapsible tissues in the throat that support the respiratory systems that can easily be pulled together by the extra pressure exhibited by the lungs in an effort to breathe. When the tissues and muscle mass are pulled strongly together with enough force, they can touch each other and completely block the passage of air into the body. Obstructive Sleep Apnea events occur when an obstruction of the airway completely stops the passage of breath.

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    Find Relief From Chronic Sinusitis And Sleep Apnea At Sinus Solutions Of South Florida

    Getting a good nights sleep with chronic sinusitis and sleep apnea is incredibly important. But getting a good nights sleep with chronic sinusitis and sleep apnea can also be incredibly difficult.

    Dr. Napoleon G. Bequer is one of the leading ENT practitioners in South Florida. Using balloon sinuplasty, sinus surgery, or other treatment methods, Bequer and the staff at Sinus Solutions of South Florida can help you find better sleep.

    Say so long to sleep apnea and sinusitis. Request a consultation at our ENT offices in either Tampa or West Palm Beach by calling 790-7744 or contacting us online.

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    Dr. Bequer is a leading South Florida ENT & sinus doctor, providing nasal, sinus, and snoring relief through balloon sinuplasty and various procedures the in West Palm Beach and Tampa areas.

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