Can Sleep Apnea Be Affected By Allergies?

By Dr. Robert Rawdin

Do Allergies Make Sleep Apnea Worse?

Sleep apnea can be affected by allergies; absolutely!

How Do Allergies Make It More Difficult To Breathe?

With seasonal allergies, in particular, the nasal passages get blocked up due to inflammation and mucous collection. This, in turn, affects how well you can breath through your nose. Ideally, we should be always be breathing through the nose; it prepares the air for your lungs (as opposed to mouth breathing). So, with mouth breathing, there is a greater chance of obstruction by the tongue causing apnea episodes. When the mouth hangs open and the jaw is relaxed, the tongue tends to fall back toward the soft palate.

Can a CPAP Help?

The use of a CPAP will help because upon every inspiration, there is air forced in by the CPAP machine. Again, with inflammation in the nasal passages, it makes nasal breathing more difficult; the CPAP will prevent the apnea episodes because of the positive pressure of the machine.

If you do suffer from allergies, it is advisable to treat the allergy symptoms to enhance nasal breathing. Decongestants and nasal steroid sprays are effective at reducing nasal inflammation to allow better nasal breathing.

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