Can a Deviated Septum Cause Sleep Apnea?

Apnea means ceasing to breathe. In Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), throat muscles relax too much when you’re asleep, causing blockage of air. Patients usually stop breathing for short moments. When you don’t get enough oxygen, the brain reacts by causing you to gasp for air. Sleep apnea can also cause snoring.

Interrupted sleep means sleep apnea patients don’t get enough rest at night. Lack of sleep can hinder concentration during the day, and in severe cases, the patient may fall asleep while driving or operating dangerous machinery. Sleep apnea increases the risk of cardiovascular problems, blood pressure issues, and diabetes, among other diseases.

It’s reassuring that sleep apnea is treatable, and the symptoms can improve significantly with a doctor’s help.


What’s a Deviated Septum?




A deviated septum occurs when the bone that separates the nostrils is off center. The septum (bone and cartilage) between the nostrils keeps the nasal passages open. However, when the septum moves and blocks airflow, the result can be potentially disastrous.

Some people have a defect in the septum at birth. Others get a deviated septum because of injuries to the nose. While you can self-diagnose a deviated septum, some people show no symptoms and may require a doctor for a diagnosis. If you suspect a dislocated septum, seek the correct diagnosis and treatment from a qualified medical practitioner.



Symptoms of a Deviated Septum


Most septal deviations show no symptoms. However, when accompanied by symptoms, you may experience:

Nostril obstruction: When the septum moves, it can block one nostril causing uneven air movements. As a result, patients report congestion and difficulty breathing through the nose. Symptoms may worsen when you have an allergic reaction or a cold that causes your nostrils to constrict further.

Snorting when asleep: Due to obstruction of air, you may struggle to breathe, resulting in noisy breathing when you’re sleeping.

Having a specific sleeping position: Patients may notice that they must sleep on a particular side of the body to breathe better. So they’ll always turn to that position before falling asleep.

Experiencing alternating nasal cycles: If you notice that you breathe through one nostril for some time and then shift to the other, you may have a deviated septum.

Nose Bleeding: Nosebleeds can occur when the septum becomes so dry that blood vessels in the nose burst.


Deviated Septum and Sleep


You need eight hours of sleep as an adult to function well. If that sleep is interrupted, you risk accidents because of lack of concentration and compromise your health. A deviated septum prevents you from sleeping peacefully through the night. You may wake up often to catch your breath, which reduces the time you get to rest. If left untreated, a displaced septum can lead to other problems such as:

A dry mouth: breathing through the mouth causes it to dry.

Worsen sleep apnea can exacerbate breathing problems for patients already dealing with sleep apnea.

Relief from a deviated septum is possible through medication to ease nasal congestion, septoplasty (minor surgery) to rectify the septum, using a CPAP machine to improve airflow, etc. Talk to your doctor before accepting any treatment option to be sure it’s suited for you. When a deviated septum isn’t troublesome, some patients choose to live with it. However, it may be best to seek treatment if you are having trouble breathing or not sleeping well.


So Does a Deviated Septum Cause Sleep Apnea?

The short answer is no but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect it. Sleep apnea primarily affects overweight, diabetic, or older patients with weak throat muscles. When we sleep, our muscles relax slightly more than during waking hours. If the throat muscles relax too much, they can collapse and cause blockage of the airways.

A deviated septum, on the other hand, affects the nostrils. As discussed earlier, it can also cause difficulty breathing when patients sleep. Still, a displaced septum worsens sleep apnea. Imagine you’re asleep; your throat is blocked, so you can’t breathe well. As if that’s not bad enough, your nostrils are obstructed. Sleeping would be next to impossible, and the risks of more severe diseases would be higher. So, it would help to keep your breathing in check. Seek treatment for sleep apnea and deviated septum as soon as possible.

Surgery may not be the most convenient of options. But there are other less risky ways to improve your breathing. Our nasal masks with nasal pillows are comfortable. We also have full face masks. The problem with nasal masks is oxygen supply. What if you run out of oxygen in an emergency? The all-convenient portable oxygen concentrator solves this problem for good. You have your oxygen on demand at all times.

Berien CPAP is moving to the The Local Choice Pharmacy MedValue Centre Corner of Zambezi drive and Kameeldrift dr, (Just off the Zambezi offramp off the N1 highway)

**NOTE that in order to get to Berien CPAP you need to make use of the Pharmacy entrance**