According to a new study published last week in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, untreated sleep apnea is associated with a threefold increase in crash risk. However, the study failed to identify specific increased risk across parts of the study population.

How the Study Was Run

The current study was intended to investigate the incidence rate of motor vehicle crashes in patients with obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type of sleep apnea, as well as identify whether other factors such as age, experience, and sex, had an impact on crash risk for sleep apnea sufferers.

They worked with more than 2600 patients who had been referred to a clinic for suspected sleep disordered breathing. They collected basic information, including reports of near-misses or motor vehicle accidents, their reported sleepiness, consumption of alcohol, and consumption of caffeine.

They then used statistical analysis to divide the population into groups for analysis.

Findings of the Study

The study found first that people with untreated sleep apnea were three times more likely to have car accidents than people without sleep apnea (0.06 crashes per person per year for apnea sufferers compared to 0.02 for the general population. Although they found that very sleepy men were nearly five times more likely to have a near miss (risk factor 4.68) than men who were not sleepy, and 1.27 times more likely to suffer an actual crash than people who were not sleepy, they didn’t find similar associations with women.

Treatment Can Save Your Life

The good things about studies such as this one is that they highlight the benefit of sleep apnea treatment. Sleep apnea treatment can significantly reduce your daytime sleepiness, and, as a result, decrease your risk of car accidents.

However, to get benefit from your sleep apnea treatment, you have to use it. If you have been prescribed CPAP therapy, but don’t use it often enough because it’s uncomfortable or inconvenient, we have a CPAP alternative treatment that can help.

For more information, please contact the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center in Omaha, Nebraska.