The Link Between Sleep Apnea and Car Accidents

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A new study published by the Sleep Research Society and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has found that people suffering for obstructive sleep apnea have an increased risk of being involved in car accidents.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A sleep disorder characterized by snoring and pauses in breathing while asleep, as well as shallow or infrequent breathing during sleep. For more info, click here. 

The study was performed in Sweden among 1,478 patients with an average age of 53 years old. Most of these patients were male. During the study, the rate of car accidents involving the patients with obstructive sleep apnea was compared with the rate of car accidents from the general population. As a result of the study, it was found that patients with obstructive sleep apnea were approximately 2.5 times more likely to be the driver in a car accident, compared to the general population not suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. This level of risk increased when excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep duration of 5 hours or less, and/or use of sleeping pills were present.

The good news? This increased risk can be reduced by approximately 70 percent for obstructive sleep apnea patients who use CPAP therapy for 4 hours per night or more.

Obstructive sleep apnea can be a dangerous condition; it can play a part in the development of several health problems, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and cardiac death. If you find yourself not feeling well rested, even after a good night’s sleep, or if you wake yourself up from snoring or breathing problems, you may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. Visit a sleep specialist, like Dr. Pasha, for a proper diagnosis and treatment options.