Untreated Sleep Apnea Tied to Preventable Injuries

smiling woman man looking onTwenty five million adults in the U.S. are affected by obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a common sleep disorder that results in extreme daytime fatigue. The findings of a new study may hopefully spark sufferers to take the disease much more seriously and find a sleep apnea treatment that works for them.

Researchers at University of British Columbia Hospital Sleep Laboratory found that patients with OSA have a three-fold increased risk of sustaining injury from a fall or commercial vehicle crash, bolstering existing concerns about the detrimental effects of untreated sleep apnea.

The findings were published on March 15 in the medical journal Thorax.

Sleep apnea linked to workplace injury

The sleep apnea study sought to determine whether patients with OSA were at greater risk of occupational or workplace injuries. Researchers pulled from a databank of patients who were sent to the University of British Columbia Hospital for suspected sleep apnea from 2003 to 2011, scanning work records for incidence of occupational injury. Out of 1236 patients, 994 were diagnosed with OSA. The study showed that people with confirmed sleep apnea were twice as likely to suffer at least one workplace injury compared with those who did not have the disorder. A secondary evaluation found that sleep apnea sufferers were three times more likely to be harmed from an accident related to reduced vigilance, such as slipping and falling, or crashing in a commercial car accident.

The results bolster those found in previous research on untreated sleep apnea in truck drivers. Recently published in the journal Sleep, the report found that commercial truck drivers with OSA who did not follow their CPAP therapy had a five times greater risk of causing a preventable accident. This imminent threat on U.S. roadways has prompted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to recommend wide scale sleep apnea screening for all commercial drivers.

Low compliance rates with CPAP

What researchers have discovered time and time again is a low long-term compliance rate with patients who used continuous positive airway pressure therapy, a cumbersome device that can cause dry mouth, headaches and feelings of claustrophobia in some.

In one 2008 study, 15 percent of sleep apnea participants had abandoned CPAP after using it for less than 15 months, and more than 30 percent never even started therapy after initial diagnosis and CPAP titration.

Dental sleep apnea treatment

The American Sleep Association recommends several types of sleep apnea treatment, including Oral Appliance Therapy. Also called a Mandibular Advancement Device, this appliance can be highly effective in stopping snoring and increasing the size of the upper airway, thus reducing intermittent choking episodes that plague people with OSA.

These mouth pieces are custom made by your dentist using a special mold. Worn only while sleeping, the appliance gently pushes the jaw in a slightly forward position, helping to keep the upper airway open.

NYC dentist Dr. David Blaustein finds that many of his patients like the comfort, ease and convenience of Oral Appliance Therapy versus traditional CPAP devices.

Find relief and a new-found sense of energy with dental sleep apnea treatment that is affordable and can dramatically improve the quality of your life. For more information about Oral Appliance Therapy in Manhattan, or to arrange a consultation please call Chelsea Dental Aesthetics at 347-973-7527.

Resources:

  1. Thorax, Obstructive sleep apnoea and frequency of occupational injury http://thorax.bmj.com/content/early/2016/03/15/thoraxjnl-2015-207994.abstract
  2. American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Crash risk soars among truck drivers who fail to adhere to sleep apnea treatment http://www.aasmnet.org/articles.aspx?id=6186
  3. Canadian Respiratory Journal, Long-term compliance with continuous positive airway pressure in patients with obstructive sleep apnea http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2679572/

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