Have you ever caught yourself dozing while you were driving? It is scary, and very dangerous. I think we have all been driving tired at one time or another, and all the head shaking, blinking and singing out loud just doesn’t seem to help. Well the National Highway Traffic Safety administration is also concerned and have been keeping records on Sleepy Drivers.
Their statistics report that between 10 and 20 per cent of all traffic accidents, ( that is about 100,000 auto accidents) , are caused from driving tired. It is reported that 5 to 10 per cent of traffic fatalities are a result of sleepy drivers. Americans are a sleep deprived people for many reasons but one of the common problems that effect our increased level of fatigue is Obstructive Sleep Apnea. A big problem associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea is that many people are affected by it and don’t know it.
Our dental office routinely screens all our patients for Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Why? Because sleep apnea will shorten a person life by 7-8 years, and because 80 per cent of people that have Obstructive Sleep Apnea are unaware of their condition. Even children have symptoms of Sleep Apnea and are screened by our dental team. If we discover a potential problem we help guide the patient to a physician who specializes in treating sleep disorders. By making an oral appliance to treat sleep apnea we get to be part of the team that helps our patients overcome this problem.
If you are frequently tired or exhausted, snore, or have been heard to gasp while sleeping you should be screened for Sleep Apnea. If you are overweight, or have a neck size that is over 17 inches , or for women over 15 inches you have a high probability of having a Sleep Breathing Disorder.
Look, it easy to find out if you have a problem with Sleep Apnea, the treatment is painless, it could add years to your life and you will feel better and more rested. What’s keeping you from finding out?