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Chronic Urticaria And Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Dr Martin Abelar - October 20, 2021 - 0 comments

If you suffer from chronic urticaria or persistent chronic hives, researchers believe you could be at a higher risk for another condition: obstructive sleep apnea.  Chronic urticaria can be caused by several things, including physical, autoimmune, allergic, and infectious illness, but no matter the reason, this condition was found in a recent study to raise the risk of sleep apnea.

The study followed 171 patients with a mean age of 41.9 years, either diagnosed with sleep apnea, or at risk for sleep apnea due to many factors including weight, neck circumference, gender, and age.  Researchers used the STOP-BANG test and discovered that over 50 percent of the subjects in the study had an “intermediate to high risk for moderate-to-severe OSA,” in contrast with patients with mild or controlled urticaria.

The bad news is that if you have chronic urticaria, you may not even realize that this risk is a possibility and because sleep apnea occurs when you’re sleeping, it can be hard to diagnose or even suspect. Those with sleep partners are at an advantage because those partners usually notice the snoring and gasping for breath that is so typical with obstructive sleep apnea, but those who sleep alone can be at a higher risk of going undiagnosed.

If you do have chronic urticaria, it may be worth the trip to your physician to help rule out obstructive sleep apnea.  This is especially important if you notice yourself waking frequently, feeling tired during the day, suffering from cognitive impairment during the day, or have other comorbid conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. If you are a man over the age of 50, overweight, or lead a sedentary lifestyle, you may also be at an elevated risk for sleep apnea, whether you have urticaria or not.

Sleep apnea doesn’t just affect your sleep, it can cause serious damage to your body, but many people are afraid to treat their sleep apnea because they don’t like the idea of wearing a CPAP mask. The good news is that there is an effective alternative to CPAP therapy. A custom sleep appliance or MAD can help. These oral orthotics fit comfortably into the mouth and prop your airway open as you sleep, allowing you to breathe without obstruction – and without forced-air or an awkward CPAP mask. If you are interested in learning more about MAD devices, speak to Dr. Abelar about having one made for you. It could make all the difference in your sleep.

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