It has been estimated that over 20 million Americans suffer from nasal airway obstruction (NAO). This is actually a bigger issue, than most people realize. Approximately 70% of the air that we take into our lungs comes in through the nose. So one can easily imagine how blockages of the nasal cavity can lead to numerous more serious health consequences down the road.
Sinus blockages are never fun, and can develop for a number of reasons. The root causes can be anything from irritated nasal tissues to excess mucus production in response to an allergen, virus or bacteria.
If you are suffering from chronic nasal congestion and/or problematic snoring, you could be at risk for a potentially life threatening condition that is characterized by numerous intermittent periods of interrupted breathing due to obstruction. This condition is known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA),
Some common factors that can contribute to nasal obstruction and congestion are:
Nasal obstruction and congestion can be a significant contributors to impaired sleep, snoring, and other sleep disordered breathing. Nasal based snoring is typically caused by nasal stuffiness or collapsing nostrils.
The human body is designed to breathe through the nose. When nasal breathing is interrupted by congestion, the body forces you to begin mouth breathing, which is a less than optimal way to pass air into the lungs. Mouth breathing creates more negative pressure (vibrating) behind the soft palate and uvula, which can result in snoring during sleep. Allergies and nasal congestion are both considered to be a primary causes of snoring and impaired sleep.
In a study that was conducted by the University of Wisconsin Sleep and Respiratory Research Group, it was found that nasal obstruction leads to increases in sleep disordered breathing events, such as snoring, apneas (suspensions in breathing), and hypopneas (episodes of extremely shallow breathing). Study participants with nighttime rhinitis (irritation and inflammation of the mucous membrane inside the nose) reported more:
Other risks of impaired sleep due to nasal congestion include:
Alleviating nasal obstruction can also occur with decongestant, allergy, and nasal spray medications, but if there's not much improvement, one can consider surgical options if there are anatomic factors present.
In-office treatments provided for nasal obstruction