Latest News

by admin on March 7, 2010

Latest sleep apnea news

Sleep Apnea as a condition can be extremely dangerous and difficult to treat. However, some latest news about studies and innovations about the condition may help you to better understand what sleep apnea is all about.

Fewer Nightmares for Sleep Apnea patients

Recent news on studies shows that patients with sleep apnea report fewer cases of nightmares during their sleep. This may be the only silver lining to an otherwise tiresome and painful condition.

Though patients with sleep apnea continue to dream, they report fewer cases of nightmares. This finding will now allow the doctors to get a better insight into the condition and also to ask the right questions to the patients. The more severe the condition of the apnea is, the lesser nightmare the patient had.

However, patients must remember that apnea is a serious condition and may even become fatal. So, proper treatment of the condition is very important – even if you have fewer nightmares now.

OSA in kids may be genetic

Another new study has found that the treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in children may become much easier. Doctors may soon be able to avoid a tonsillectomy and simply use an injection, or even a throat spray to stop snoring in children.

An online edition of a report by the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine says that they have identified genes that are linked to Obstructive Sleep Apnea in children. These genes cause the tonsil tissues to proliferate, thus resulting in partial or complete obstruction of the airway passage.

The fact that there might be effective non surgical ways of getting rid of sleep apnea in children is indeed exciting.

Brain damage linked with sleep apnea

In yet another unfortunate finding about sleep apnea, it has been found that sleep apnea may be linked to brain damage in patients. People, who are affected with severe sleep apnea, usually have reduced level of concentration of gray matters in several areas in the brain.

The brain’s cerebral cortex or the gray matter is the hot seat of the brain, where information is processed. However, gray matter reduces various memory issues, as well as increase cardiovascular problems in the patient.

Poor sleep quality can result in progressive damage of the brain, brought on by Obstructive Sleep Apnea. This will give rise to a number of emotional problems, decreased cognitive powers and increased cardiovascular problems.

The study took into account the condition of 36 men affected with sleep apnea and 31 healthy men. While the latter group showed no changes in the level of gray matter, the patients affected with OSA showed reduced concentrations of gray matter.

Adolescent sleep problem increases the risk of motor accidents

Studies have found that adolescent drivers who were suffering from sleep apnea are twice as likely to have had a crash. The fact is, motor accidents are a huge concern, whenever a sleep apnea patient is concerned. There are a number of accidents reported each day, caused by drowsy driving.

Sleep Apnea may cause drug abuse and dependency in teens

Latest news about a study revealing the dangers of sleep apnea links sleep apnea with increased drug dependency. It has been found that teenagers who have lesser than seven hours of sleep are more likely to use illegal drugs. This habit can spread through the friend circle and increase the number of cases of teen drug abuse. The Researchers at the University of California San Diego and Harvard University came to this conclusion after mapping the sleep patterns and drug use of more than 8,000 teens. They found that a teenager who gets less than 7 hours of sleep is 11% more likely to use drugs than those who get more sleep.

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Dangers of Drowsy Driving

by admin on March 7, 2010

Dangers of drowsy driving and how to overcome them

 

Falling asleep while driving, is a common cause for road accidents which can turn fatal. Constant yawning, heavy eyelids and blurred vision are some of the symptoms that indicate that you are about to fall asleep while driving. Always stay cautious about the dangers of drowsy driving and take steps to avoid this imminent danger.

When you feel sleepy, your brain starts to function slowly. Driving while you are sleepy is dangerous as it reduces your ability to drive efficiently and inhibits your mental alertness. You have lesser judgmental power and react to events slower than usual. The symptoms of fatigued drivers are often confused with those of intoxicated drivers. Sufferers from sleep apnea also feel sleepy while driving.

Driving with sleepiness often leads to serious injuries and even death. Consider these points:

  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of U.S., drowsy driving leads to nearly 100,000 crashes every year. These accidents lead to about 40,000 injuries and 1550 deaths each year.
  • Sufferers from sleep apnea perform as poorly as those who have high alcohol concentration in their blood.  
  • According to the famous journal “Sleep,” Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) has claimed 1400 lives out of road accidents in the year 2000. The damage has been $15.9 billion.
  • Patients suffering from OSA are 3-7 times more likely to face dangers of car crash.
  • Drowsy drivers cause more casualties than sufferers of sleep apnea.
  • 1.5% of all road accidents are related to drowsy driving.
  • According to National Sleep Foundation’s 2002 Sleep in America survey, about one – half of U.S.’ adult drivers (amounting to approximately 100 million people) feel sleepy while driving. Nearly two out of ten people have reported to have fallen asleep while driving in the last one year.

Now let us examine the causes behind people falling asleep behind the wheels

  • Undiagnosed sleep disorders, including sleep apnea
  • The time of the day or night
  • Amount of sleep the driver had in the night prior
  • Alcohol intake
  • Prescribed and other Over The Counter drugs taken by the driver
  • Shifting duties – People coming back to home from night shift or joining work in the morning shift are more prone to drowsiness on the road.

Now let us have a look at some of the precautionary steps by which we can mitigate the risks of drowsy driving:

  • Night time is particularly risky, as sleep will come naturally. Our biological clock is programmed to sleep when it is dark outside. For most people, the urge to fall asleep is the strongest between 12:00 AM and 6:00 AM. We should try and avoid this time as much as possible.
  • While driving for a long stretch, you should take regular breaks. It is more important for truck drivers. Go out of the truck, stretch yourself a little. You can also walk around a little. Some aerobic exercise will also help. These measures will increase blood flow through your body system and will provide you with more energy.
  • At intervals, drink beverages rich in caffeine, say tea, coffee etc. These are stimulants and will boost up your energy levels temporarily. However, do not drink too much caffeine at one go.
  • Avoid Over-The-Counter medications. They might turn you into a sleepy driver.
  • While driving, keep the side window open. Fresh air will be highly energizing.
  • Keep your car stereo or radio open. The radio talk shows will help in keeping drowsiness at bay. 
  • Have a good sleep the night prior and the night after the driving session and keep the dangers of drowsy driving at bay.

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