Are nasal strips an effective treatment for sleep apnea? – we

Are nasal strips an effective treatment for sleep apnea?

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Are nasal strips an effective treatment for sleep apnea?

Sometimes, we experience “pauses” in breathing while sleeping, several times per hour, followed by a loud snort or gasp and then excessive snoring. Many people either choose to ignore this condition , thinking that it will subside on its own or that it is just excessive snoring. Snoring can occur due to many reasons - cold / nasal congestion, alcohol consumption, obesity, family history of snoring or other nose problems. While temporary snoring due to nasal congestions might be harmless, persistent and loud snoring could indicate the presence of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and, if left untreated, it can lead to serious medical issues such as stroke, diabetes, obesity, depression and heart disease. If you are experiencing nasal congestion which is causing you to snore a lot, nasal strips can help you ease the congestion and sleep better.

Nasal Strips: What are they and how do they work?

Nasal strips are thin strips with a sticky surface underneath, similar to a bandage. These are non medicated and fairly inexpensive. A single nasal strip is placed across the ridge of the nose. The sticky surface of the nasal strip gently albeit slightly, pulls the nostrils open, increasing airflow into the nasal passages. Many people opt for nasal strips as an over-the-counter remedy for snoring.

Nasal Strips: An effective treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Snoring occurs for various reasons. If your snoring occurs due to allergies or nasal congestion arising from a cold, then nasal strips can alleviate much of the snoring. However, if your snoring is attributed to the collapse of soft tissues in the back of the throat that occurs in sleep apnea, then nasal strips may not be effective.

Nasal strips may help people with obstructive sleep apnea by enabling more air to enter into the airway. However this is not sufficient as how Continuous Positive Airway Pressure may work.

Empirical Evidence supporting the efficacy of nasal strips

A study examining the effects of nasal strips on patients with obstructive sleep apnea was published in the American Journal of Rhinology in 1999.The study followed twenty six patients and used the respiratory disturbance index (RDI) as a measure of effectiveness of nasal strips. Out of these 26 patients, 19 experienced a decrease in their RDI levels as a direct result of using nasal strips.

This begs the question whether nasal strips can treat sleep apnea? Investigators in this study concluded that nasal strips helped patients in this study because nasal obstruction (nasal congestion) was a contributing factor that led to their sleep apnea.

In a majority of OSA cases, the sleep apnea results from the collapse of soft tissues in the throat. Nasal strips alone cannot be used as a treatment option in such cases. Nasal strips can be a supplementary treatment.

If you do snore at night followed by intermittent pauses in breathing and gasping/snoring, then it is likely that you may have sleep apnea. It is recommended you visit a qualified sleep specialist to have an assessment done on your sleep patterns. If sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea is found to be the cause, then continuous positive airway pressure may be recommended as a more effective and long term solution for your condition rather than Nasal strips.

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