Sleep Apnea

A Cocktail of Sleepiness and Driving – the OSA Saga

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The numbers of vehicles have crossed over 5 Lakhs in many urban centers of India. This means that there is a lot of traffic on road at any given time. It also means that there are more drivers falling asleep on the wheels of their car – either due to exhaustion or a medical condition. One such condition could be OSA (Obsessive Sleep Apnea), a condition where a patient stops breathing for small periods of time!

DNA-Sleep Apnoea- Dr Amit Panjwani

Cases like these are not very uncommon among medical practitioners. This should make us all the more aware of the dangers that one puts himself into and also the risk that is posed to others. Snoring when sleeping, disturbed night of sleep, changing positions when sleeping, being forgetful, late are all indicators that one can be suffering from OSA.

OSA, can strike at any time. It happens because of an obstruction to the flow of air in the airways, especially in the upper part near the throat area. It can occur at any age, including children, albeit it is more common in middle aged obese or overweight men. Studies have shown the prevalence of it being around 10-12% of the population.

The risk of driving with OSA increases the possibility of a car crash by as many as 12 times. To avoid such instances from happening, it is suggested that one visit their doctors.  With improved medication & treatment techniques, this can easily be treated by qualified practitioners. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is one of the most effective treatment options for OSA, which involves a mask when the patient sleeps. Early diagnosis prevents any long term complications, reducing chances of fatality.

Proper treatment not only improves driver performance, but also makes a person alert & active. This is for the good!