Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Truck Drivers
May 09, 2019
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes adverse effects in the body. These adverse effects typically include extreme fatigue, making those who suffer from the disorder prone to accidents. For commercial drivers, suffering from sleep apnea puts many lives in danger. Therefore, it is important for patients to seek treatment options to keep the negative effects of sleep apnea at bay.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder that causes a cessation of breathing while one is asleep. This is caused by a relaxation of muscles in the back of the throat, leading to narrowed airways. When the airways are narrowed, breathing stops, and the body is forced to wake itself up to take in oxygen.
Sleep apnea is an incredibly dangerous sleep disorder, particularly because of its adverse effects. Due to the cessation of breathing, those who suffer from sleep apnea tend to have daytime fatigue. Fatigue often leads to an inability to stay focused, and those with the disorder tend to experience more accidents than the average person. Some people are not aware that they have sleep apnea, making it even more dangerous. Therefore, those suffering from symptoms should seek aid from a medical professional.
Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Loud snoring
- Gasping for air while asleep
- Feeling excessively sleepy during the day
- Difficulty focusing
- Experiencing dry mouth upon waking up
Treatment options include a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. Patients wear a face or nasal mask that pumps air through the nasal passages, leading to better breathing, and ultimately, better sleep.
How Sleep Apnea Affects Driving
According to a study published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), those suffering from sleep apnea are 2.5 times more likely to experience a motor-vehicle accident. For commercial truck drivers suffering from sleep apnea, this can lead to disastrous consequences. Consequences include injuries and fatalities from both the commercial driver and others on the road. Since tractor-trailers weigh nearly 80,000 pounds, colliding with another vehicle can be incredibly dangerous.
Commercial drivers tend to drive for long periods; therefore, focus is crucial for safe driving. For those suffering from sleep apnea, it may be difficult to focus. Diagnosis and treatment for sleep apnea is crucial. The Truckers & Turnover Project is currently working toward diagnosing truck drivers with obstructive sleep apnea.
Cherry Hill Truck Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Represent Truck Accident Victims
If you or someone you know was involved in a truck accident, consider contacting a Cherry Hill truck accident lawyer at DiTomaso Law. Our lawyers work with clients to obtain compensation for injuries and pain and suffering. If you are interested in speaking to one of our lawyers, contact us online or call us at 856-414-0010 for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Mt. Holly, and Camden County.
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