Pauses or interruptions in breathing, also known as sleep apnoea, is due to the weakening of the throat and upper airway muscles. What happens when the muscles are weakened is that they are not able to stay open, but collapse and block the airway. Sleep apnoea can lead to several serious illnesses. Research shows a link with elevated blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and depression. There is also a correlation between sleep apnoea and road accidents.
To count as sleep apnoea, the interruption of breathing in adults should last for at least 10 seconds. In a person with severe breathing interruptions, apnoea can occur up to 600 times in one night.
Usually, it is not you who discovers that you have sleep apnoea. It is probably a partner or a loved one who has noticed that you have breathing problems. It may also be that you have sought medical attention due to, for example, a dry mouth, daytime fatigue, headache, restless sleep or mood swings. It is not uncommon that you feel acid reflux, wake up for an unknown reason, get up to urinate during the night or wake up in the morning with a sore throat.
The upper airways and throat consist of muscles and cartilage. Sleep apnoea is often caused by a weakened musculature (the ‘constrictors’) in the upper airway, which causes the muscles during sleep to fall in on themselves, ‘collapse’ and block the free airway.
Behind the uvula you have the soft palate. The soft palate is a muscle that seals up against the nose when we swallow so that food or drink goes down the oesophagus instead of up the nose. When we sleep, our muscles relax - and this can sometimes include the soft palate muscle. Any snoring that is experienced is caused by a weakened soft palate that relaxes too much and vibrates in the flow of air when breathing in. If the tongue's musculature is also weakened, the tongue falls back and increases the pressure on the upper airway and blocks it, leading to a pause in breathing.
The symptoms can be aggravated, for example, if you have enlarged tonsils, nasal polyps, drink too much alcohol or are overweight. The body reacts in several ways during a pause in breathing. It produces more adrenaline, your pulse and blood pressure increase, while blood oxygenation becomes lower. The body's response to this can give you symptoms such as daytime fatigue, headaches and you may feel more easily irritated.
It is important to check the cause of the interruption in breathing. If you have frequent breathing breaks lasting longer than 10 seconds you should always see a doctor. While waiting for your appointment and possible diagnosis, you can start training with the IQoro. The IQoro throat trainer strengthens the weakened throat and upper airway muscles, which are a common cause of sleep apnoea. The only thing you need to do is 90 seconds of training per day.
In mild to moderate sleep apnoea, a night time snore guard is a common treatment option. It is fitted at a dentist. The purpose of the snore guard is to move the lower jaw and thus create an underbite that pulls out the position of the tongue and makes it not fall back and clog the airways. Creating an intentional underbite that lasts for several hours at a time can lead to lasting issues with an altered bite profile. The changes occur slowly and should be followed up by your dentist.
A regular night time treatment of medium to severe sleep apnoea is a CPAP machine that helps you keep your airways open. Some find the device and mask unpleasant, plus the loud noise made by the unit can make it difficult to sleep, while other people are very satisfied with the solution.
Even if the treatment method for your sleep apnoea works well, it does not strengthen your musculature, but rather provides passive help while it is being used. We recommend daytime training with IQoro to strengthen the weakened musculature.
In cases where the effect of the IQoro treatment is so good that you wish to discontinue any ongoing treatment with a CPAP machine or a snore guard, this should be done in consultation with your doctor. When you have achieved the desired result, maintenance training with the IQoro throat trainer is required to maintain muscle strength and retain the effect achieved.
IQoro is a neuromuscular training device. It allows you to strengthen the muscles that you can’t usually train - at least not by consciously controlling these muscles. The instructions to activate these ‘involuntary’ muscles come only from autonomic brain signals. That’s what IQoro stimulates.
All it takes is 90 seconds exercise per day. IQoro uses the body’s natural nerve pathways to activate the muscles from the face, oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus and down to the diaphragm where your hernia is situated.
Your injured muscle in the diaphragm is strengthened, and gradually your symptoms will disappear as you address their cause. Some maintenance training will be required after your symptoms have gone to keep your original symptoms at bay.
Internationally patented and manufactured in Sweden.
CE marked, Class 1 Medical Device
IQoro is based on many years’ scientific research, and is certified for sale and use in the EU and EEA countries.
IQoro naturally strengthens the musculature from the face, oral cavity, upper airways, esophagus down to the diaphragm and stomach without any side-effects.
Malin’s swallowing difficulties became a torment
Malin Wallin, a 25 year old has always been slim but has never had a problem with eating. Until her last year in high school that is, when - without any warning - she began to be affected by a persistent feeling of having a lump in the throat and trouble with swallowing. It would take several years before she would be helped by a new treatment method in the form of a neuromuscular exercise device and regime from IQoro.
It is a very modest young lady that turns up to the interview to tell us about her tough years with swallowing difficulties, difficulties that of course have caused anxiety, worry and social isolation at many shared mealtimes.
- For many years it has been a torment to eat in the company of others. I carried with me a constant fear of having something stick in my throat, and I avoided mealtimes with colleagues or friends, says Malin, who now works as a childcarer...
Niklas’ feelings of constant queasiness are gone
Niklas had dieted with the LCHF method and lost weight, but he was afflicted by a reflux problem (LPR) when he went back to an ordinary diet.
Food leaked up from his stomach at night giving a feeling of queasiness and an irritating, persistent, dry cough. After he had researched the problem, Nicholas concluded that he was suffering from dysphagia, or swallowing difficulties.
– It was always gurgly in my throat and the swallowing difficulties came more intense, says Nicolas.
In the end, he sought professional help and underwent a gastroscopy, but nothing abnormal was to be seen.
– It was frustrating! Sometimes I couldn’t even sleep at night because it felt as though the remains of my food were still in my esophagus, and were leaking up into my throat.
Reviewed by: Dr. Mary Hägg, Doctor of Medicine, Post-doctoral researcher at Uppsala University specialising in orofacial medicine, Head of Department at the Speech and Swallowing Centre: Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic at Hudiksvall Hospital, Sweden. Registered Dentist. October 2018.