In recent years Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) has developed into an important health concern for transportation departments. It started when Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) applied rules that truck drivers be tested for sleep apnea. When the FMCSA began testing they discovered that over seventeen percent of truck drivers had obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The FMCSA therefore began to implement regulations for truck drivers to have their OSA treated to increase safety. A major consequence of OSA is daytime drowsiness. Obviously, falling asleep at the wheel if a major problem.
Then Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) followed also stated to take notice about OSA. In one instance, both a pilot and co-pilot fell asleep and missed their destination due to their sleep apnea. The plane did land safely and no one was injured. However, this incident was enough for the FAA to make sleep apnea testing mandatory for pilots.
Now the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is asking the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to start testing their engineers. The NTSB has identified sleep apnea as a major transportation safety issue, which can increase the risk of a motor vehicle accident by up to seven-fold. In the past 15 years, undiagnosed or untreated obstructive sleep apnea likely caused a dozen accidents, including four involving railroads, the NTSB said.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a common sleeping disorder in which you stop breathing during the night. Breathing stoppages can last from a few seconds to minutes. They may occur thirty times or more an hour. Usually, normal breathing then starts again, sometimes with a loud snort, gasp or choking sound. Sleep apnea usually is a chronic condition that disrupts your sleep. When your breathing pauses or becomes shallow, you’ll often move out of deep sleep and into light sleep. The stoppage of sleep is the results from the soft tissue of the throat and tongue collapsing and occluding the airway. The brain signals the body to wake up in order to breath. However, this sleep arousal is done without the patient knowing. Thus, the sleep apnea patient wakens hundreds of times a night and never gets restful and rejuvenating sleep. Therefore, the quality of your sleep is poor, which makes you tired during the day. Sleep apnea is a leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness.
With no or little air freely flowing to the lungs, there is a decrease in oxygen levels in the blood. Therefore, if not diagnosed or treated, it comes as no surprise that OSA is a debilitating and life-shortening condition that can impact a person’s life. Sleep apnea can lead to many of serious medical conditions such as:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) raises your risk for numerous serious health problems. Some of the problems are listed below:
With the horrible health risks of sleep apnea you can understand why we are passionate about your overall health. Early diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea will reduce your risk for more fatal conditions listed above. Call our office today!