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An Easton Car Accident Lawyer Discusses the Effect of Sleep Apnea on Accidents

Jun 16, 2021 - Easton Car Accident Lawyer

According to Science Daily, a new study found that obstructive sleep apnea is associated with a significantly increased risk of motor vehicle accidents. However, this risk is reduced when sleep apnea is treated effectively using continuous positive airway pressure therapy or other treatment methods.

If you have suffered injuries due to an accident, such as a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, let an Easton car accident lawyer at Drake, Hileman & Davis help. Read on as an Easton car accident lawyer discusses the effect of sleep apnea on accidents.

What is Sleep Apnea?

According to the Mayo Clinic, sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. If you snore loudly and feel tired even after a full night’s sleep, you might have sleep apnea. The main types of sleep apnea are:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common form that occurs when throat muscles relax.
  • Central sleep apnea, which occurs when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome, also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea, which occurs when someone has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

How Does Sleep Apnea Increase the Chances of an Accident?

According to PubMed Central (PMA) at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (PMC), obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a primary cause of excessive daytime sleepiness and increases the risk for driving accidents.

Since it is estimated that OSA is not diagnosed in about 80% of cases, recognition of patients at risk for driving accidents is a big part of the problem. Strategies to screen and identify subjects at high risk for driving accidents are under study in order to improve safety on the road, especially for commercial drivers, who show a high prevalence of OSA.

Put more simply, sleep apnea prevents a good night’s sleep, which leaves us tired during the day, which leads to falling asleep at the wheel, which leads to accidents, especially among long-haul truckers, who tend to drive fatigued anyway.

How Do You Treat Sleep Apnea?

First, get yourself tested. Most medical facilities offer sleep apnea testing. If you test positive, 

treatment begins with lifestyles changes, such as:

  • Losing weight, exercising, stopping smoking, and refrain from drinking alcohol, but if you do, drink moderately and don’t drink several hours before bedtime.
  • Use a nasal decongestant or allergy medications.
  • Don’t sleep on your back.
  • Avoid taking sedative medications such as anti-anxiety drugs or sleeping pills.

For more severe sleep apnea conditions, there is therapy-based treatment, including:

  • Positive airway pressure treatment; i.e., using a CPAP.
  • Oral appliances. These mouthpiece appliances help keep your throat open.
  • Surgery or other procedures. For severe cases, there are a number of surgeries and procedures that may help permanently fix the problem.

Contact an Easton Car Accident Lawyer For More Information

If you have trouble staying awake during the day, have yourself tested for sleep apnea and get appropriate treatment. This may literally save lives, including yours. Contact an Easton car accident lawyer at Drake, Hileman & Davis for your free consultation, either online or at 610-663-3758.

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