A 2010 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey of sleep deprivation revealed an alarming fact: of those who answered, approximately 1 in 25 participants admitted to having fallen asleep while driving in the preceding 30 days. The New York Times explains it this way: “[Mathematical] models based on this data imply that an estimated 15 to 33 percent of all fatal crashes in the United States might involve a drowsy driver. But even that may be an underestimate, as some people who fall asleep at the wheel may be sheepish about acknowledging as much in a survey.”
A summary of the survey reveals that drowsy driving often contributes to motor vehicle crashes and resulting fatalities. Findings reveal that, unfortunately, techniques to stay awake while driving that involve creating external stimulus — turning up the radio, or opening the window, for example – have not been found to be effective. Drivers should be aware of their level of alertness and stop driving if symptoms point to being too fatigued to continue. By the time a driver’s eyes begin to droop, it may be too late for a driver to accurately assess their drowsiness.
Sleep apnea can be a major cause of daytime drowsiness, and can be assessed during a sleep study. When this condition is diagnosed, the physician or a sleep specialist may recommend the patient be fitted with a CPAP or BiLevel mask as part of treatment. The most widely recommended treatment for moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea, CPAP entails wearing a mask-like device during sleep, which provides pressurized air to prevent the airway from collapsing.
At Symbius Medical, we take a clinical approach to care. To ensure our customers’ complete comfort and understanding home medical equipment, our highly trained Respiratory Therapists specially fit customers with the proper equipment, and instruct on use and care for your device in the home. We follow up ten days later to answer questions, and to ensure the patient is comfortable operating the new sleep therapy equipment.