Inhaled Asthma Meds Linked to Sleep Apnea

Friday, February 28th, 2014, 7:52 pm

Many people are prescribed inhaled corticosteroid medications to control their asthma symptoms but a new study suggests a link between these medications and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Obstructive sleep apnea causes people to stop breathing while sleeping. A new study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison suggests that in come people, the inhaled corticosteroid medications may make the throat and tongue more floppy and more likely to block the airway during sleep, leading to OSA.

Corticosteroid pills and injectables have long been recognized as agents that can lead to muscle weakness and fat accumulation. This pilot study suggests that the inhaled form of these medications, taken by 75% of people with asthma, may affect the airway in the same way. “In the lungs, corticosteroids reduce airway inflammation, but no once has studied how they affect the pharyngeal upper airway,” said Dr. Mihaela Teodorescu.

This small pilot study found that older male subjects who had poor control over their asthma showed upper airway issues and that all subject had changes in tongue function consistent with sleep apnea.

These medication are very important to the 18 million Americans with asthma but this study shows that doctors may need to test for obstructive sleep apnea in asthmatic patients who utilize inhaled corticosteroids.

Obstructive sleep apnea can be effectively managed by using an oral appliance created by a dentist who has received training in the care of sleep apnea patients. OSA is a dangerous disorder and left untreated can lead to heart attack, stroke, diabetes and depression. Loud snoring and extreme daytime fatigue are hallmarks of OSA.

Find out more about OSA and whether you might be a candidate for oral appliance therapy by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439.

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Category: Dental Sleep Medicine

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