New nasal spray offers hope for sleep apnea sufferers

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Australian scientists have made a significant breakthrough that could transform the lives of millions affected by sleep apnea, a widespread and serious sleep disorder.

Their research, detailed in The Journal of Heart and Circulatory Physiology, introduces a nasal spray that can potentially lessen the severity of sleep apnea symptoms and lower blood pressure in sufferers.

Sleep apnea, specifically obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), is characterized by the relaxation of throat muscles during sleep, leading to narrowed airways that can severely disrupt breathing and sleep quality.

This condition is associated with a host of health issues, including heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and mental health disorders. Despite its prevalence, many patients find current treatments like CPAP machines difficult to use or tolerate.

The focus of this new study was a nasal spray containing potassium channel blockers, a type of medication that can enhance the activity of muscles responsible for keeping the upper airway open during sleep.

This innovative approach aims to prevent the throat from collapsing, which is a common problem in sleep apnea patients.

Led by Dr. Amal Osman and Professor Danny Eckert from the College of Medicine and Public Health, the research team conducted a randomized, blind trial involving 10 individuals diagnosed with OSA.

Participants were administered either the potassium blocker nasal spray, a placebo, or the potassium nasal spray alongside a method of restricted ‘nasal only’ breathing.

The findings revealed that seven out of the ten participants responded positively to the potassium channel blocker nasal spray.

These individuals showed a notable decrease in the episodes of upper airway collapse during sleep and experienced lower blood pressure the following morning.

Interestingly, combining the nasal spray with restricted ‘nasal only’ breathing did not enhance sleep quality in the trial.

Dr. Osman emphasized the safety and tolerability of the nasal spray, highlighting its potential to significantly reduce OSA severity indicators, such as improved oxygen levels and lower blood pressure.

These promising results open the door to new treatment avenues for individuals who struggle with existing OSA therapies, including those unable to use CPAP machines or undergo upper airway surgery.

With no drugs currently approved for treating OSA, this research marks a crucial step towards developing accessible, effective treatments for this challenging condition.

As Professor Eckert notes, the ongoing and future studies aim to refine and validate these findings, bringing hope to millions seeking alternative solutions for managing sleep apnea.

If you care about sleep, please read studies about herb that could help you sleep well at night, and these drugs could lower severity of sleep apnea by one third.

For more information about sleep, please see recent studies that coffee boosts your physical activity, cuts sleep, affects heartbeat, and results showing how to deal with “COVID-somnia” and sleep well at night.

The research findings can be found in the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology.

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