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Sinus Problems And Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OTC): Throat Exercises, Breathing, Obesity Cure And More

Updated on June 9, 2014

Sleep apnea is a condition that affects more than twenty million americans and is considered to be a serious sleeping disorder. It is characterized by a sudden stop in breathing which continues for several seconds to several minutes. A person with sleep apnea may awaken 100 or more times during the night. Side effects associated with sleep apnea include poor quality sleep, poor concentration during the day and emotional disorders. In many cases people with sleep apnea are unable to enter into REM sleep. Without REM sleep dreams do not occur which leads to serious emotional disorders. Periods of apnea stress the heart and may lead to cardiac damage. Sleep apnea has been linked to hypertension, stroke, heart attacks.

The standard treatment is the use of a breathing machine designed to keep airways open during sleep. The machine uses a method known as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) which prevents airways from closing and cutting off the supply of oxygen. The machines works well but is expensive and there have been complaints of uncomfortable side effects such as congestion.

The best way to treat sleep apnea is to decrease symptoms or eliminate them all together. Making lifestyle changes which include eliminating factors that promote sleep apnea and adding those which will promote easy breathing is the ideal solution.

What Causes Breathing Passage Ways to Close?

Sleep apnea also known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when throat muscles become to relaxed due to poor muscle tone. When this happens, the uvula and tongue can fall into a position that blocks the airway passage to the lungs. Snoring is often an indication of sleep apnea but many snorers do not have the condition.

Causes and Treatments for Sleep Apnea

Overweight and Obesity - Many people who are overweight or obese suffer from OSA. When sleeping on the back, fat deposits in the mouth and throat can limit breathing, increasing the possibility of sleep apnea. A study conducted at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden revealed that weight loss cured fifty percent of sleep apnea cases in overweight or obese individuals.

Allergies and sinus problems - These conditions can limited breathing by narrowing or blocking airway passages. Over the counter drugs are not the best way to treat these allergies and sinus problems because they only mask the problem. The best way to treat these conditions is by making lifestyle changes that will eliminate allergies and sinus problems.

Smoking, Alcohol and Sedatives - Smoking increases the risk of sleep apnea because it causes congestion in upper bronchial passages. Studies have shown that quitting smoking greatly decreases the risk of sleep apnea. Drinking alcohol or taking sedatives at bedtime should also be avoided as they have been found to depress the nervous system, relax muscles increasing the possibility of breathing stoppage.

One free method found effective at decreasing or eliminating OSA in some individuals is throat exercises. Research suggests that building muscle around the airways is effective at preventing them from collapsing during the night. A study was published recently in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. In the study participants were split into two groups. One group did 30 minutes of breathing exercises while the other did 30 minutes of throat exercise. After 3 months the group that engaged in throat exercises reduced the severity of their condition greatly.


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    • heart4theword profile image

      heart4theword 7 years ago from hub

      It sounds like both the deep breathing and the throat exercises would help. Interesting about the fatty deposits in the throat! Some much need information, most of us know someone...that could benefit from reading your hub:)

    • Summer Wolf profile image

      Summer Wolf 7 years ago from Cashmere, Washington

      I was diagnosed with sleep apnea in 2001. After about a year of treatment and dropping 30+ pounds, my blood pressure went down and the apnea went away. Now, 2010, my weight has creeped back up and have been diagnosed with apnea again. :( The blood pressure is still down but it's being constantly treated. My fiancé in 2000 had apnea died of a non-related heart attack, my husband has apnea and I fear narcolepsy. Soon we both should be on the CPAP again.

    • Carrie.M profile image

      Carrie.M 7 years ago from MI, United States

      A number of my family members suffer from sleep apnea. A couple of them are overweight but it also appears that sinus problems are a causing factor. Interesting information about the throat exercises. I will be investigating those further. Thanks!

    • ftclick profile image

      ftclick 7 years ago

      treating the issue of being overweight solves many health conditions yet the preservatives and unnatural ingredients in foods works against you.

    • Allan Douglas profile image

      Allan Douglas 7 years ago from Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

      I am delighted to say that this condtion does not plague me - or at least not that I know of; the side effects you list *could* apply to me but they are quite general. However it is interesting to have more information about a condition that so many people talk about.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 7 years ago from Indonesia

      A very useful hub. Thank you for sharing.

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 7 years ago from Southern California

      I see what you mean. Here is another link where you use all the vowels

    • SteveoMc profile image

      SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Guess what? I already read that! You had the link in your hub, but the information is not there.

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 7 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for all comments!

      SteveoMC, try this link for the answer to your question.

    • profile image

      lyjo 7 years ago

      What a great hub steve, excellent information, this can be a very serious problem for some, thanks, tgc,

    • Neverletitgo profile image

      Abdinasir Aden 7 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      Steve, I like your hubs.

      will vote up

    • GusTheRedneck profile image

      Gustave Kilthau 7 years ago from USA

      SM122000 - An excellent article, Steve - really good information on sleep apnea problems, causes, and care(s).

      Gus :-)))

    • SteveoMc profile image

      SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Interesting information and informative. I could probably lose weight and do throat excercises. I wonder what the vowels are for this exercise?

    • bayoulady profile image

      bayoulady 7 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

      Rated up. Very informative.I have sleep apnea-OSA, and I am overweight. I had sleep apnea when i was skinny at 93 lbs, though. Maybe the throat exercises would help though.