Sleep disorders are among the most commonly reported health problems in the US today. In fact, at least 40 million people suffer from sleep disorders ranging from insomnia to more serious conditions such as sleep apnea. Potentially serious in nature, sleep apnea is a chronic health problem that is progressive and left untreated can worsen over time. Some estimates show that a full 17 percent of American test subjects have obstructive sleep apnea. Unfortunately, many patients who suffer from sleep apnea are not even aware that they have it. Two to four percent of Americans have an undiagnosed case of sleep apnea… that is one in every 50 people. But there is some good news, sleep apnea, once diagnosed is relatively easy to treat and responds well to non-invasive treatment options.
There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central and mixed. Obstructive sleep apnea is by far the most common type and can range from mild to severe. Sleep apnea is not relegated to any age group and affects males and females of all ages, from children to senior citizens. Obstructive sleep apnea literally means “without breath” and causes an involuntary cease in breathing while we sleep. In some patients, this happens hundreds of times during the night.
Because sleep apnea presents itself while we are asleep, unless a partner sleeps with you and notices the pattern of the cessation of breath, patients may not realize that it is happening. Some of the most common symptoms to look for with Obstructive Sleep Apnea are:
- Waking with a very sore or dry throat
- Restless sleep
- Loud snoring
- Waking with a choking or gasping sensation
- Sleepiness during the day or while driving
- Morning headaches
Untreated, sleep apnea can lead to other problems including high blood pressure, weight gain, impotence, memory problems and even cardiovascular disease. If you do suspect that you may be experiencing sleep apnea, it is important to get tested. As with any medical concern, you should always consult your doctor, however the American Sleep Association has also made some self-tests available on their website. Once a diagnosis has been made there are several treatment options available.
Treatment through Chiropractic Neurology is one option that is a simple, yet powerful form of treatment that does not rely on drugs. Marrying chiropractic adjustments with the knowledge of how the brain and nervous system work together to restore and repair the body, Chiropractic Neurology seeks to uncover the underlying cause of the disorder. Using techniques that restore spinal stability, fix the posture through proper muscle and ligament alignment and restoring balance to the body makes a tremendous difference in how we rest. Chiropractic Neurologists also understand the nutritional needs of their patients and if weight is an underlying factor in the case of sleep apnea, as it is for many patients, a proper treatment plan will be assessed including nutritional needs.
While sleep disorders, and more specifically sleep apnea, are on the rise, so too is the study into how to treat and stave off the effects. As more information becomes available, care through Chiropractic Neurology is becoming a more common, and desired, course of treatment. If you have been diagnosed with Sleep Apnea, or would like more information on how Chiropractic Neurology can help you or a loved one, please contact Dr. Marc Ellis at the Georgia Chiropractic Neurology Center today.