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At some point in time in our lives, we have all had a head cold with its accompanying nasal congestion. Sometimes the congestion can get so bad that snoring ensues. The majority of us take decongestants to help ease breathing, and others use nasal strips to open up airway passages. So if they can help you breathe when you are sick and lessen snoring incidence, can nasal strips help treat sleep apnea? Or just lower the amount of snoring?
Specifically, obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by frequent pauses in breathing throughout the course of the night. Frequently, the classic symptom or hallmark sign of sleep apnea is snoring. Other symptoms are daytime sleepiness, fatigue, poor concentration, memory loss, and mood swings.
When a person puts a nasal strip over his or her nose, the result is an opening up and improvement of airflow in this facial feature, and hence snoring decreases. One nasal strip company, Breath Right, reports that 75 percent of bed partners reported that strips lowered or even eliminated the snoring, which had previously disrupted the sleep of their loved one (and them!). The strips are free of medication. Additionally, they are a non-invasive and inexpensive option to try to lessen the incidence of snoring.
Published in the American Journal of Rhinology, researchers evaluated the effect of nasal strips on changing the respiratory disturbance index (RDI) in people with sleep snoring. RDI is a tool that physicians use to classify the severity of an individual’s sleep apnea. The RDI lets the physician know how many times during the course of each hour of sleep, the person has a pause in breathing. In the 26 test subjects, 19 participants had a reduction in their RDI using nasal strips. The investigators concluded that nasal strips were effective for these individuals due to the fact that nasal obstruction was the contributing factor in causing their sleep apnea.
Nevertheless, it is important to have snoring and possible sleep apnea evaluated by a medical professional. Your physician might request a sleep study, which will let him or her know your RDI, among other things. When left untreated, sleep apnea places the sufferer at a higher risk of developing life-threatening illnesses such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity, stroke, and diabetes.
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