Is there a link between sleep apnea and car crashes?


A new study has claimed that there is a significant link between sleep apnea and risk of motor vehicle accidents. The study more importantly shows that the risk reduces with continuous airway pressure therapy.

Researchers from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden have found that extreme daytime sleepiness was just one of the factors that increased the possibility of being involved in a traffic accident

bad sleepMedical News Today (MNT) quoted statistics from The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) which estimated that around 25 million adults in the US suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.

The definition of the medical condition is where breathing is not continuous during sleep. Breathing typically starts and stops and the break in the respiration is often accompanied by snorting and gasping.

Not surprisingly, the absence of uninterrupted sleep at night causes daytime sleepiness and it’s this event that impairs concentration.

Several treatment options are available to those diagnosed with the problem. These include continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy to stop the throat from closing during sleep.

0001108 tap-pap-nasal-pillow-cpap-mask-with-headgear 325CPAP is an electric device that is powered by a small pump and which continuously delivers compressed air through a mask covering the nose or both the nose and mouth.

The ‘force’ of the air allows for breathing even if the throat muscles relax and obstruct airflow.

MNT quoted the lead investigator of the study on daytime concentration impairment, Ludger Grote, as saying: “This study provides very strong evidence that obstructive sleep apnea patients have an increased traffic accident risk and that this risk can be modified if CPAP treatment is used adequately.”

The researchers said they analysed the data of motor accidents and found that sleep apnea patients were nearly 2.5 times more likely to be the driver in the accident.

The said the use of sleeping pills, pushing through with less than five hours of sleep and ignoring daytime sleepiness were factors in the accidents.

Drowsy-Driving-478x340They also said that patients using CPAP showed an approximate 70 percent reduction in higher risk accidents.

When it comes to sleep, apnea patients must invest in a good quality bed and bedding. There are several products available to help correct spine structure and position the head correctly.

Of course, there are also smartphone apps available to help you record your breathing at night to determine if you are a patient.

Treatment is incredibly important to seek out as Sleep apnea is a fatal condition. Fortunately the condition is well researched and funded so help is always improving. Consider these websites for further understanding of the condition.