Sleep Apnea and Driving

It is well known that those with untreated Sleep Apnea are more likely to have a traffic accident. In fact, the likelihood is two to six times that of the normal population. When compared to patients without the disorder, people with Sleep Apnea had more off road accidents, slower brake reaction time, and a marked increase in out-of-lane drifting. Their performances were poorer than that of a person with a blood alcohol level of .08g/dl, a level that would results in a DUI in most states.

Unfortunately most states do not have a mandatory law forbidding people with sleep apnea from driving if they refuse treatment. That is why it is so important that if you or a loved one suspects that you have sleep apnea you seek treatment. The treatments such as CPAP, oral appliances, and in some cases, surgery, are all effective. After treatment, most people’s driving performance returns to normal within one to two weeks. So, it is not just for yourself, but for the safety of others that should motivate you to get diagnosed and treated.

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