ZocdocAnswersCould my allergies be causing sleep apnea?

Question

Could my allergies be causing sleep apnea?

My doctor wants me to get a sleep study done to see if I have sleep apnea because I wake up a lot at night and my gf says I snore. Could my hay fever be causing this? Do I really need to have the sleep study done or can something else be done about sleep apnea?

Answer

You may have obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea. OSA occurs when the breathing process is interrupted due to obstruction of upper airway when enough air cannot flow into your lungs while you are sleeping. In other words, your throat briefly collapses causing pauses in your breathing for short periods of time. Two of OSA symptoms, which you have already mentioned, are disrupted sleep with frequent awakenings and loud snoring. (However, not everyone who snores loudly has sleep apnea). Other common signs of OSA are gasping and choking during sleep, dry throat when you wake up, and especially excessive daytime sleepiness. There are several studies suggesting a link between hay fever and OSA. This is because swelling of the nasal lining is associated with hay fever. The blocked nose causes discharge to block their airways, so people who suffer from hay fever are more likely to become OSA sufferers. I would recommend that you see a primary care doctor who may refer you to a sleep medicine specialist, if you haven't already. I also strongly encourage you to have the sleep study done to confirm that you have OSA and establish what solutions are available for you to control this disorder.

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