June 27, 2012
The latest research shows that having sleep apnea significantly increases the risk of death. Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects at least 18 million Americans. In fact, sleep apnea is also associated with nearly double the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, as well as early death in men, particularly middle-aged and older men. An obstructed airway causes sleep apnea, which results in cessations in breathing during sleep. This can occur hundreds of times each night. Sleep apnea often results in lowered oxygen levels in the blood, and if untreated, can lead to poor sleep quality, daytime sleepiness, and increased car accidents. Mounting research reveals it may lead to far worse consequences as well.
Even those with mild to moderate sleep apnea may see an increase of up to 17% in their risk of death. A long and large study conducted at Johns Hopkins University and published this year showed results that have real meaning for the average person. Over a period of 10 years, the researchers included more than 6,400 men and women between the ages of 40 and 70. Most of the participants snored, which is the main symptom of sleep apnea. The researchers monitored their sleep patterns as well as their breathing, heart rhythms, and brain activity while sleeping. The results revealed that about half had moderate to severe sleep apnea.
Next, the researchers tracked those with sleep apnea over the next eight to ten years, monitoring and recording the incidence of sickness and death. The main illnesses they found were high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. They made an incredible discovery: those who experienced just 11 minutes of severe sleep apnea per night, in which blood oxygen levels dropped to below 90% of normal, nearly doubled the risk of death among men. The researchers were not able to conclude the same for women, since the study included so few women with severe sleep apnea. In general, sleep apnea affects men more than women.
The researchers indicated that these results are serious and require attention by doctors as well as patients. "With such mounting evidence indicating the range of clinical effects of sleep apnea, awareness amongst health care professionals and the general community needs to increase," said study lead author Dr. Naresh Punjabi, an associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.
Anyone with the main symptoms of sleep apnea, including loud snoring, daytime fatigue, and difficulty concentrating should discuss their symptoms with your chiropractor. Lifestyle changes such as losing weight may help the problem. If you have a more serious case of sleep apnea, there is effective therapy, including Continuous Positive Airway Pressure devices that act as a sort of oxygen mask during sleep. According to accumulating evidence, not only can treating sleep apnea improve your quality of life, but may save it as well.
June 12, 2012
Chiropractic is recognized as one of the safest therapies you can use to treat joint pain, back and neck pain, headaches, and other conditions. Because no type of healthcare therapy is completely free of potential side effects, however, some adverse effects may occur.
Many patients feel relief immediately following a chiropractic spinal adjustment, but some experience mild aching or soreness in the spinal joints or muscles. This feeling is similar to muscle soreness after exercise. If this occurs, it is usually within the first few hours post-treatment and for most patients (74%) does not last longer than 24 hours after the treatment. An ice pack often reduces the symptoms of this more quickly. Spinal adjustments pose few serious risks, although rare complications include the possibility of a herniated disk or compression of the nerves in the lower spinal column.
Some headaches and neck pains can be treated through cervical manipulation, which are also known as neck adjustments. These treatments improve joint mobility in the neck, restore the normal range of motion, and reduce muscle spasm to relieve pressure and tension. Neck manipulation is known to be a safe procedure, but some patients may experience side effects for a few days after treatment. These side effects include headache, fatigue, or continuing pain.
At the extreme end of risks associated with cervical manipulation, there have been reports that have associated it with a certain kind of stroke: vertebrobasilar artery (VBA) stroke. The best evidence indicates that the incidence of such injuries associated with neck adjustments is extremely rare – about 1 case in 5.85 million manipulations. To put this risk into perspective, this type of injury usually occurs spontaneously, or it happens as a result of everyday activities such as looking up to watch fireworks, turning your head while driving or having your hair washed in a hair salon.
Chiropractic adjustments are safe when performed by licensed professionals trained and to deliver chiropractic care. When you visit your chiropractor, you should be very specific about your symptoms, and about any concerns you feel about any risks. This will help the doctor to offer the safest and most effective treatment for you. Depending on your condition and the specific problems being treated, the chiropractor can sometimes forego manipulation, and instead can recommend a treatment regimen of joint mobilization, therapeutic exercise, soft-tissue techniques, or other therapies.