MySleepApnea.Org

Posts Tagged ‘accidents

  Microsleep, ever heard of it? Do you what it means? Wonder if it has ever happened to you? I use to get it when I was working night shifts, and my circadian clock was still working on daytime hours. I would have a 45 miunute drive home, and there would be times when I would get home, and only then I realized, ‘Wow how did get here…so fast?!’ …puzzeling, but then there were times the thudding of the relectors would bring me to realization that I was starting to doze off. At the same time I felt like my eyes were open the whole time, and that’s because they were!

A Microsleep; is an episode of sleep lasting from a fraction of a second up to several seconds. It often occurs as a result of sleep deprivation, metal fatigue, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, or hypersomnia. People who experience excessive daytime sleepiness are at high risk for Mircrosleep episodes.

Microsleeps can occur at any time, typically without significant warning. In the middle of even lively conversations, the onset of a Microsleep episode can cause sufferers to ‘suddenly’ lose sync in a conversation.

Microsleeps becomes extremely dangerous when occurring during situations which demand continual alertness, such as driving a motor vehicle or working with heavy machinery. People who experience microsleeps usually remain unaware of them, instead believing themselves to have been awake the whole time, or feeling a sensation of ‘spaceing out.’ One example is called “gap driving”: from the perspective of the driver, he or she was driving a car, and then suddenly realizes that several secondes have passed bu unnoticed, or like in my case 45 minutes!

Sleep is on the rise of awareness; so much is starting to show how the effects of sleep really play on your health, and that’s mental health, physical health, and how much we take it for granted. We only have 24 hours in a day, an we think that there is so much that needs to be done in such a short tmie, and that  cut comes out of our sleep.

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DOT (Department of Transportation) proposal requires testing

The U.S. Department of Transportation has proposed new regulations that would require truck drivers at risk for sleep apnea to get tested and treated in order to obtain their licenses.

The move is aimed at reducing the number of truck crashes caused by driver fatigue, said Rex Patty, a nurse practitioner at WorkCare, a regional healthcare in Topka, Kan.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates that approximately 141,000 large truck crashes that occurred during a 33-month study perios  18,000 or 13% were related to drivre fatigue.

Not all driver fatigue is the result of sleep apnea, but about 28% of truckers amy be at risk, compared to around 10% in the general population, said Patty.

Drivers with certain risk factors for OSA would be evaluated by a DOT provider and, if necessary, referred to their private physician for a sleep study.

It is estimated that 45% to 50% of (at risk) drivers will need additional evalation, and 70% of that outcome would need treatment known as the CPAP therapy; or Continouse Positive Airway Pressure.

Drivers diagnosed with OSA would need at least one week of treatment before they could get back behind the wheel. They would need to meet a minimym compliance of four hours or more each night 70% of the time, with periodic re-evaluations to maintain their license.

Trucking companies and independent drivers aren’t embracing the proposed rules. The most talked about is cost. On average, and depending on the severity of a persons OSA, CPAP machines and specific testings could cost up to $1,000.

  Cost concerns go well beyond intitial diagnosis and treatment.

DOT made is very clear that ‘If they are not compliant, they are disqualified to drive.’  Trucking companies can have a driver they depend on that can’t drive, and at this point, nobody knows how they get re-qualified. They are still under determination for what that may mean.

  It could be six months to a year before the proposal is finalized.

Sleepy brains prone to power failure:

 Being deprived of sleep even for one night can make the brain unstable and prone to sudden shutdown, like a power failure- brief lapses that hover between sleep and wakefulness.

  It’s as though it is both asleep and awake and they are switching between each other very rapidly, causing such disorientation in a sleep deprived person. Imagine your sitting in a room watching a movie with the lights on. In a stable or wakeful brain the light stay on all the time, where-as a sleep brain, the lights will suddenly go off and you’ve dozed off, unaware.

  The findings also suggest that people who are sleep deprived alterante between periods of near-normal brain function and dramatic lapses in attention and visual processing. Researchers did brain imaging studies on 24 adults who performed simple tasks involving visual attention when they were well rested and when they had missed a nights’ sleep.

  The researchers used a type of brain imaging know as functional magnetic resonance imaging or fMRI, which measures blood flow in the brain.

  They found significant, momentary lapses in several areas of the brain, which seemed to frequently falter when the people were deprived of sleep, but when these same people were well rested. These people were doing tasks and trying to work very hard through their sleepiness, to remember what they had learned.

  These lapses seem to suggest that loss of sleep renders the brain incapable to fully fending off involuntary drive to sleep. The study also makes it clear how dangerous sleep deprivation can be while driving on a highway, when even a four-second lapse could lead to a major accident.

drowsy-driver.jpg   People with obstructive sleep apnea have a markedly increased risk of severe motor vehicle crashes involving personal injury. The study of 800 people with sleep apnea and 800 with a nighttime breathing disorder found that patients with sleep apnea were twice as likely as people without sleep apnea to have a car crash, and three to five times as likely to have a serious crash involving personal injury. Overall, the sleep apnea group had a total of 250 crashes over three years, compared with the 123 crashes in the group without sleep apnea.

  drowsyy-driver-deterent.jpg While many previous studies have shown that sleep apnea patients are not increased risk of car crashes, this study is the first to look at the severity of those crashes. Upon comparison, many of the sleep apnea patients’ crashes involved personal injury, but that some patients had fairly mild sleep apnea were at increased risk car crashes. Based on those findings, it is now considered driving risk when deciding on treatments for patients with mild sleep apnea.

  tired-sleepy-driver.gif The study is the biggest one to combine validated sleep apnea diagnosis through an overnight sleep study called polysonography, with data from insurance records to verify motor vehicles crashes and their severity. In obstructive sleep apnea, the upper airway narrows, or collapses, during sleep. Periods of apnea end with a brief partial arousal that may disrupt sleep hundreds of times throughout the night. Obesity is a major risk factor for sleep apnea            

snoring-smiling-face.jpg This study also found that while in the general population men have more vehicle crashes than women, among sleep apnea patients, men and women actually crash at a similar rate. Although, the issue of treatment is not addressed by this study, data from other groups suggest that crashes related to sleep apnea are preventable.


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