What makes Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome Dangerous?

Upper airway resistance syndrome or UARS is a lesser-known sleep-breathing disorder that involves shallow breaths while sleeping. Similar to obstructive sleep apnea, UARS occurs when the airway is blocked by soft tissue, although the mechanics of what causes the obstruction vary. Today on the blog, airway-focused dentists in Raleigh at About Face Collaborative share what makes UARS dangerous, and what to do if you think that you have it.

To differentiate between sleep apnea and UARS lets first explore the cause of each. 


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the soft tissue of the airway (throat, adenoids, tonsils, or tongue) block or restrict airflow while sleeping. As the body attempts to breathe, the forced air causes the soft tissue to vibrate, resulting in the snoring sound associated with sleep apnea. Upper airway resistance syndrome is similar but is caused when the actual airway muscles collapse. In cases of UARS, snoring may not be evident, making it more difficult for you or your sleep partner to recognize. Both conditions are serious if not treated and result in insufficient oxygen supply to the body and its vital organs.

You might have UARS if you experience the following symptoms:
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Memory loss
  • Chronic nasal congestion
  • Frequent headaches
  • Teeth grinding while asleep

Upper airway resistance syndrome may be misdiagnosed as other health issues such as Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, psychiatric disorders (depression or anxiety), or even fibromyalgia. If you experience these symptoms, schedule a consultation with About Face Collaborative today. Sleep-breathing disorders do not go away and only magnify associated health risks.

Health Risks of Sleep-Breathing Disorders

Living with an untreated airway disorder could increase your risk of having a stroke, developing diabetes, or experiencing cardiovascular disease. The most significant problem with airway disorders is a lack of proper airflow. Most people would never think of depriving their bodies of food or water. Air deprivation should be taken just as seriously!

How is UARS diagnosed?

An airway screening in Raleigh at About Face Collaborative is helpful in determining if you have a sleep-breathing disorder. However, a sleep study is the only way to receive an official diagnosis. About Face Collaborative partners with renowned physicians in the Raleigh area that deal with sleep-breathing disorders that conduct sleep studies.

How are airway disorders treated?

Treatment for airway disorders focuses on the root cause of the problem, which is a collapsed or blocked airway. In some cases, a specially designed oral appliance can be worn to facilitate an open airway, and promote oxygenation in the body. However, in extreme sleep disorder cases, surgery may be the better option. At About Face Collaborative, we always strive to recommend the least invasive treatment option when managing sleep apnea. Find out which treatment option is right for you by scheduling a consultation today.

Treatment for Sleep-Breathing Disorders in Raleigh, Durham, and Cary

If you are looking for ways to stop snoring, or want to know treatment options for sleep-breathing disorders, contact About Face Collaborative today by calling (804) 387-7002.