Like UARS (Upper Airway Restriction Syndrome), there are many other misunderstood or under studied sleep disorder causes. Causes traditional medicine haven't begun to delve into... perhaps because it's easier and faster to prescribe drugs, including sleeping pills.
Unfortunately, these "remedies" only mask the underlying problems and have many consequential unhealthy, dangerous and life-threatening side effects.
This is the reason I spend as
much time as I do on researching effective drug-free alternatives and
learning about leading sleep science developments. Attending as many
sleep and health related seminars and discussions as I do -- helps
me keep you up to date so
you can improve your health with better drug-free sleep solutions --
just as I have.
That's how I learned about Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome. This disorder, different from obstructive sleep apnea, is relatively unknown even within the medical community. By attending a webinar (June 2012) hosted by Dr. Steven Park, MD*, I was introduced to Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome pioneer, Theodore R. Belfor, DDS. Be sure to also read Dr. Park's informative UARS article.
Ted Belfor is a NYC dentist who has had remarkable success in helping his
patients improve their sleep, health and upper airway
resistance syndrome issues, naturally. During this webinar, Dr. Belfor
said: "Sleep arousals (one of the hard to detect symptoms) from UARS is
Dr. Belfor has graciously given permission to publish his UARS article here:
Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS), a sleep disorder characterized by airway resistance to breathing during sleep, often goes undiagnosed or masquerades as another problem. Headaches, myalgia, sleep onset insomnia, sleep maintenance insomnia,1 bruxism, anxiety and depression are all symptoms of chronic stress which can be related back to respiratory effort related arousals and UARS.
According to Christian Guilleminault the researcher credited with naming this disorder, “Partial obstruction of the airway is hard to quantify”. “Research and clinical diagnosis and treatment have not been integrated. The medical community is slow to recognize the problem.”2
Because the medical profession does not fully recognize the problem, many doctors are ignoring a condition that could be affecting as much as 15% of our population. This is great for Starbucks, but quite the opposite for many people. Dentists do not need an MD to diagnose Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome. With a strong background in craniofacial pain we can recognize the symptoms in our patients and provide effective treatment protocols.
Patients that exhibit symptoms of chronic stress can be tested with ambulatory polysomnography to determine if there is a pattern of arousal and light sleep all night long.
If we can break the pattern of chronic stress and lower cortisol levels, it will take our patients out of sympathetic mode and slow down their pulse rate and give them a more restorative night’s sleep. This can be done with appliance therapy treatment, myofunctional therapy and breathing exercises.
Small changes in the airway at night during sleep can be interpreted by the body’s defense mechanism as a threat. This is an ancient and highly integrated reflex pattern, known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, starts with the hypothalamus and results with cortisol in the blood. Cortisol is the enemy. We Cortisol is synonymous with stress.
We now know that chronic cortisol, can activate tens or even hundreds of unexpressed genes in our body3 that produces a variety of hormonal changes with a plethora of symptoms.4 Among these symptoms are a reduction in leukocyte production and interleukin. Both make us more susceptible to infection.
The dentist is possibly the best positioned medical practitioner to provide a special service and to educate their patients in relation to a sleep and breathing disorder.
Theodore R. Belfor, DDS
120 East 36th Street
New York, N.Y. 10016
1- “Data show a strong influence of cortisol on total sleep time and slow wave sleep (SWS) as well as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep”
Sleep improvement in an insomniac patient with global pituitary insufficiency after change from triple to quadruple cortisol replacement therapy. Sleep Med. 2007 Aug;8(5):517-9. Epub 2007 May 18.
2- Interview with Christian Guilleminault, Tuesday July 26th; Dr. Steven Park, Webinar. http://doctorstevenpark.com/?p=6268
3- Ridley, Matt. Genome; Harper Perrenial Edition published 2006
4- Wust, Stephen, Federenko, Ilona, Hellhammer, Dirk; Genetic factors, perceived chronic stress, and the free cortisol response to awakening. psychoneuroendocrinology 25 (2000) 707–720
*an ear, nose throat (ENT) specialist located in New York City, Dr. Park focuses on integrative solutions for obstructive sleep apnea, UARS and snoring.