Increased upper airway resistance

Increased Upper Airway Resistance

Increased upper airway (UA) resistance is a common issue for people of all ages. It is a symptom of a variety of disorders, including asthma, obstructive sleep apnea, and vocal cord dysfunction. Increased UA resistance results in difficulty breathing and/or shortness of breath. It can be a nuisance and can also interfere with one’s quality of life.

The most common cause of increased UA resistance is obstruction of the airways by mucus, swelling, or other blockages. Additionally, weakened muscles in the upper airway, such as vocal cords, can result in narrowing of the passages. This makes it harder to take in air.

Other causes of increased UA resistance include:

  • Tobacco smoke
  • Environmental allergens
  • Colds and other respiratory infections
  • Inhaled irritants
  • Medications
  • Anatomic changes in the upper airway

The symptoms of increased UA resistance are typically related to breathing issues, such as a feeling of tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, wheezing, and difficulty taking deep breaths. In more severe cases, people may experience fatigue, dizziness, and difficulty exercising.

Treatment for increased UA resistance depends on the underlying cause and can vary from lifestyle changes, to medications, to surgery. Some methods of treating increased UA resistance include:

  • Avoiding tobacco smoke and other irritants
  • Taking medications to reduce airway swelling
  • Using a breathing device to improve air flow
  • Having surgery to remove blockages or reduce airway swelling
  • Using exercises to strengthen muscles in the upper airway