Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that is characterized by one or more breathing pauses or extremely shallow breathing patterns during a person’s sleep. If you’ve ever listened to a person with sleep apnea you’ll notice that it sounds as if they’re frequently holding their breath and then gasping for air. It can be a very alarming experience, and one that’s becoming more common in this country.
Many people who have sleep apnea don’t even know they have it until their sleeping partner or other family member informs them. They know that they’re feeling tired and unrested throughout the day but may chalk these feelings up to stress or being out of shape. These hunches are usually on target, as sleep apnea is more often seen in patients who are overweight and it can be especially burdensome during times of stress.
The Risks Associated With Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea, if left untreated can:
- Increase a person’s risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke.
- Make heart conditions worse.
- Increase the sufferer’s chances of having an automobile accident.
- Cause patients to develop complications after surgery.
- Increase the risk of developing liver problems.
- Cause sleep deprivation for family members who are kept awake by loud snoring.
- Play a role in the development of sleep problems.
- Result in morning headaches.
- Lead to mood swings and feelings of depression.
Reducing the Risks
While sleep apnea can strike anyone, there are some very specific factors that are associated with this disorder, including:
- Being overweight.
- Being male.
- Having a close relative who suffers from sleep apnea.
- Being a smoker.
- Your age – People over 65 are more likely to be diagnosed with sleep apnea.
- Your race – Latinos, Pacific Islanders and African Americans tend to suffer from sleep apnea in greater numbers than others.
Living Your Life
If you think you may have sleep apnea, don’t waste any time in getting treatment. A simple sleep study will be able to diagnose sleep apnea and from there you can work with your primary care physician and your chiropractor on a method of treatment. Your chiropractic team can help treat sleep apnea by using a variety of methods:
- Dietary advice to help you lose weight.
- Breathing exercises to help bring more oxygen into your body.
- Lifestyle counseling to reduce the risk of continued sleep issues.
- Soft tissue massage to relax the muscles.
- Chiropractic adjustments to relax muscles and promote proper breathing.
Your chiropractic team is able to provide treatment solely or by working with your primary care physician on a complete method of treatment for a variety of health care problems. If you’re feeling tired, or waking with headaches in the morning, it’s time to talk to your chiropractic team to find out what can be done to help you get a good night’s sleep again.
This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.