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Falling Asleep While Driving Can Be Linked To Obstructive Sleep Apnea

There is a method of therapy though

Studies have found that obstructive sleep apnea is associated with a significantly increased risk of motor vehicle accidents. According to the American Association of Sleep Medicine, patients with sleep apnea are 2.5 times more likely to be the driver in a motor vehicle accident.

Excessive daytime sleepiness is a common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea, which can cause you to wake up in the morning feeling tired despite a full night of sleep. The body then needs to try and recover lost sleep and when in a relaxed, seated position (like behind the wheel of the car), sleep can quickly overcome the body, resulting in serious and often fatal accidents.

Sleep apnea can be defined as a loss of muscle tone in the upper airway during sleep, resulting in a partial or total collapse of the airway, which causes a reduction or obstruction of airflow into the lungs. This can occur hundreds of times a night resulting in a severely disrupted sleep pattern. Some of the common symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring, daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, frequent need to urinate during the night and waking up gasping for breath.

The treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy. This comes in the form of a small bedside device attached to a tube and comfortable mask that the sufferer wears during sleep. The device blows a constant stream of room air into the patient’s airways keeping the airways open by causing an air splint.

Sleep apnea is easily diagnosed with a sleep test which can be performed in the home or in a dedicated sleep laboratory.

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