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Sugar Addiction – Kick It Before It Kicks You

Sugar Addiction – Kick It Before It Kicks You

Who doesn’t enjoy a nice cold fizzy soda or a sweet and chewy candy bar? From television ads to grocery store checkout lanes, we can’t seem to get away from these tasty treats. Maybe that’s why an estimated 93 million Americans, almost one-third of the population, are living with obesity. When just one soda a day with its 17 teaspoons of sugar increases a child’s chance of becoming obese by 60 percent and an adult’s chance of developing Type II Diabetes by 26 percent, how can the problem do anything but continue to grow?

While it’s technically not an addiction, the habitual overconsumption of sugary products is driven by many factors, both internal and external. Internally, your brain cells consider sugar a reward that provides quick fuel. Externally, the average American child is exposed to an average of 10 food-related advertisements every day, 98 percent of which promote products high in fat, sodium, and sugar.


Socioeconomic Challenges

Accounting for nearly 38 percent of the over 300 million people in the United States, individuals who racially identify themselves as non-white are at a higher risk for sugar-related health issues. Those watching Spanish-language programming see 49 percent more ads for sugar-containing beverages than those watching English-language programming. As opposed to one in seven white children aged 2 to 19, one in every five black children is considered obese. Furthermore, it is estimated that 45 percent of overweight or obese American children between the ages of 10 and 17 is poor, of which over 58% identify as non-white.


It Starts With You

Despite the associated hurtles, only you can kick your sugar addiction. There are plenty of fad diets out there that call for a sugar detox, but you must be careful. Even healthy foods, like fruit, dairy, and grains contain starch and sugar. If you consume any sugar- or starch-containing foods on a daily basis, like most Americans, cutting out these foods too quickly or altogether can result in a dangerous downward spike in blood sugar, leaving you feeling exhausted, shaky, and actually in need for more sugar.

The most effective treatment for sugar addiction is the slow incorporation of a lifestyle change, consisting of increased hydration and decreased sugar intake. It is important to remember poor diet is not always the only factor putting you at a higher risk for obesity and other related diseases, so talk to your doctor today. Improving and maintaining your body’s health is a lifelong commitment, but the following steps are a good place to start:

  • Retrain your taste buds by cutting out one sugary food per week.
  • Choose sweets containing naturally-occurring or raw sugar, like fruit or milk.
  • Eat a variety of low-fat protein throughout the day.
    • You’ll feel fuller and more alert longer because protein takes longer to break down than sugar.
    • Introduce lean meats, like chicken and turkey, or complementary proteins, like peas and beans, into your diet.
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners; they’re sweeter than regular sugar, so they actually make your cravings worse!
  • Stay full on fiber, hydrated with water, and get plenty of exercise and rest.

Following these tips can help you kick your sugar addiction before it kicks you!


Cervicogenic Headaches – The “Neck Headache”

Cervicogenic Headaches – The “Neck Headache”

A cervicogenic headache is a headache disorder that affects an estimated 2.2% of the population. What makes a cervicogenic headache different from other headaches is that it is not truly a headache; it is actually a type of referred pain. Referred pain is when the body perceives pain in a location different from where the actual pain is. For example, sometimes when you hit your “funny bone” you may feel a pain in your shoulder. In this case, the headache pain is being referred from bones or soft tissues in the neck. The upper cervical spinal cord has many bundles of nerves that transfer sensation between the neck and the head, which allows for the referral of pain.

How Cervicogenic Headaches Are Diagnosed

Diagnosing a cervicogenic headache can be a difficult process. Though diagnostic criteria are established, often times the presenting patient’s symptoms are hard to tell apart from those of a migraine, tension headache, or other headache disorder. The approach to diagnosing a cervicogenic headache (and also treating it) is multi-disciplined. The diagnostic factors are:

  • Usually, cervicogenic headaches are unilateral, meaning they start on one side at the back of the head, migrate towards the front, and sometimes cause arm pain.
  • Misalignment, muscle spasms, or other cervical dysfunction during a manual exam.
  • Headaches that occur when pressing on a trigger point in the neck or head.
  • Sustained neck positions which aggravate the pain.
  • X-rays and other imaging returns with normal results.
  • Occasionally nausea and/or dizziness.

Some types of cervicogenic headaches cause bilateral pain, and the headache starts out as neck pain or the neck pain exists along with the headache. In this form, the pain is exacerbated by certain movements of the neck. This form of headache is more common in occupations like hair-dressing, truck driving, or carpentry.

Who Gets Cervicogenic Headaches?

Roughly 47% of the world’s population suffers from headaches, and it is estimated that 15-20% of those are cervicogenic. Some research suggests that adults with neck pain are more susceptible to cervicogenic headaches. It has also been noted that four times as many females as males get cervicogenic headaches. During an examination, a doctor will consider any history of trauma, as well as the age of the patient. Usually, younger patients (ages 10-13) have dysfunction in the lower cervical spine, whereas older patients tend to have dysfunction in the upper cervical spine.

How Are Cervicogenic Headaches Treated?

Like diagnosis, treatment should be multi-disciplined. Usually, it is a combination of posture adjustment, massage, physiotherapy, acupuncture, steroid injections, hydrotherapy, and medication. Most patients (70%) are pain-free within a month.


To learn more or to seek treatment, contact KCA Neurology in Franklin and Clarksville, TN at 615.550.1800.


Sleep Apnea 101: When Snoring isn’t Normal

Sleep Apnea 101: When Snoring isn’t Normal

Many people snore in their sleep. Most of the time it is harmless, and goes away when you change positions in your sleep. Sometimes, however, it can signal a much more serious problem called sleep apnea. Snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea, a condition in which individuals actually stop breathing intermittently during the night. Sleep apnea is treatable, and it’s important to understand the condition to prevent it from affecting you or a loved one with serious consequences.


Sleep Apnea Basics and Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea breathing pauses during sleep typically last between 10 and 20 seconds, but they can occur many times during the night and can even wake the person experiencing the condition. The next day, you may notice feeling more fatigued than normal. When left untreated, this cycle can affect your general health over time. It can precipitate or worsen conditions like diabetes, weight gain, high blood pressure, and more.

There are two main types of sleep apnea, central and obstructive. With central sleep apnea, your breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. This happens because your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing. Other conditions, such as heart failure or a stroke, make also results in central sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea that physicians treat. During obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles of the throat relax during sleep and block the airway. Snoring is an indicator that someone may have the condition, which commonly affects individuals who are overweight, but can also occur during the aging process.

Upon awaking, sleep apnea patients may choke or gasp at the lack of air. Many patients don’t remember waking up intermittently, but they are still affected from the sleep disturbance the next day.



Treatment for obstructive sleep apnea commonly involves using a breathing device called a CPAP. While CPAP technology has been around for years, it has recently become much more comfortable for patients to adopt. The technology keeps airways open during sleep, preventing the symptoms of sleep apnea. Alternatively, some individuals may undergo a medical procedure to alter their respiratory passages and promote the flow of air during sleep. Losing weight, stopping smoking, avoiding caffeine, and maintaining a regular sleep routine are all ways that individuals can effectively reduce or eliminate sleep apnea. Talk to your physician about healthy lifestyle changes that may help.


When to Seek Help

If you notice symptoms such as chronic fatigue, frequent wakefulness during the night, headaches in the morning, or having dry mouth upon waking, you may have sleep apnea. If your partner frequently mentions that you have been snoring during the evening, try to keep a sleep diary or record yourself sleeping to determine if you may be suffering from sleep apnea. Ask your doctor whether a sleep study or further evaluation is necessary.

Contact KCA Neurology to learn more about sleep apnea.