Archive for the ‘Drowsy Driving’ Category

UNTREATED SLEEP DISORDERS PREVALENT IN POLICE OFFICERS

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Police officers have a difficult and sometimes dangerous job. The public relies upon police forces to protect our lives, solve crimes, and be role models for our communities. But unfortunately, there is one threat to cops’ safety that can’t be locked up. 

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association involving 4,957 municipal, state, county and other law enforcement officers across North America revealed that 40 percent of participants screened positive for a sleep disorder and most were undiagnosed and untreated. The most common sleep disorder found was Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Moderate to severe insomnia affected 6.5 percent, and 28.5 percent of police officers showed excessive sleepiness.

These numbers are especially alarming considering the sensitive nature of police work and the long hours spent behind the wheel. “Sleep disorders expose individuals to increased sleepiness, which elevates the risk of motor vehicle crashes.  We found that excessive sleepiness is common in police officers and that almost half report having fallen asleep while driving and about 25 percent report that it occurs at least monthly,” said Shantha Rajaratnam, PhD, co-lead author of the research paper. “Positive screening for a sleep disorder increased the risk of falling asleep while driving after work, depression and burnout by more than two-fold.”

But the results of the study yielded some optimistic insights as well. Massachusetts State Police (MSP) were found to have a  significantly lower risk for OSA than the municipal or nationwide police officers, who were nearly 60 to 80 percent more likely to screen positive for OSA. The researchers hypothesize that the comprehensive on-the-job physical fitness program implemented years ago by the MSP may account for the lower rates of both OSA and obesity (a major risk factor for OSA) observed among this group. Recognition and identification of sleep disorders as health risks can help other departments across the country to develop similar programs and keep our civil servants safe.

 

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DROWSY DRIVER CRASHES CAR, CAUSES POWER OUTAGE IN OREGON

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

One more example of how driving while tired can affect your safety and the lives of others:

From KATU News:

“SCAPPOOSE, OREGON- A crash on Highway 30 blacked out power to several towns along the busy highway just as rush hour hit Tuesday morning.

Reports that the power was out in Scappoose came in to KATU News just before 8 a.m. Later reports indicated that no one was hurt in the crash and that power was out from Warren to Scappoose.

Oregon State Police said a car hit a power pole near Berg Road on Highway 30 just before 7:30 a.m. and power lines were down at the scene.

The driver, identified as Pamela Somers, 57, of Rainier, fell asleep at the wheel and her car drifted across traffic lanes on Highway 30 before hitting a sign and a power pole, according to police.

The impact sent power lines down onto Berg Road. Somers suffered minor injuries and no other vehicles were involved. Somers was taken to a Longview hospital.

Electrical utility crews scrambled to get the power back on to thousands of residents. Traffic signals along Highway 30 were also knocked out, causing delays for commuters.”

If you feel tired when driving, it is vital that you pull over to take a nap. Trying to power through your fatigue does not work and can endanger the lives of everyone on the road. If you are constantly fatigued after a full night’s sleep, you may be suffering from an underlying sleep disorder. To be screened for sleep disorders contact the sleep specialists at Oregon Sleep Associates.

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TRAVELING WITH CPAP

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

As the summer months approach and thoughts drift to vacation plans around the country and abroad, many people who have been treated for Obstructive Sleep Apnea with continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, may wonder how to maintain a healthy night’s sleep away from home.

Traveling by airline with a CPAP

Since 9/11 many restrictions have been put in place to increase security on airlines. One inconvenient measure has been the reduction of the number of bags allowed as carry-ons. This is one instance where having a CPAP machine and knowing your rights can come in very handy. The FAA classifies CPAP as a medically necessary device. This means that passengers are allowed to bring the machine and its bag on board as an extra carry-on. Savvy travelers can will find that CPAP bags, when well packed, can provide much needed valuable real estate in these times of $50 checked luggage. TSA handlers are generally well versed with CPAPs but may ask you to remove the machine from it’s bag for additionally screening, including swabbing for explosive residue, at the security checkpoints. If you happen to encounter an overzealous TSA agent that tries to make you check your CPAP, present them with this document issued by the Department of Transportation stating the machine is to be allowed through. An official note from your doctor showing medical necessity doesn’t hurt either, especially in foreign lands.

International Travel

Most currently produced PAP machines from major manufacturers utilize international power supplies. This means they can automatically adjust for different voltages, such as 240, without the need for special equipment. This eliminates the danger of burning out a PAP while on vacation. However, travelers will still have to bring plug adapters along to fit into different sized wall outlets. And it is prudent to look up contact information for your CPAP manufacturer in the destination country. If something goes wrong with your machine, having a certified repair center nearby can mean the difference between a memorable vacation and a ruined trip.

Camping with CPAP

Many people think that having a CPAP will stop them enjoying outdoor trips such as camping , hunting, and hiking. But newer CPAP machines are very portable and easy to use without a constant power source. There are now reliable battery powered CPAP units that can be recharged on the road via car adapters. Depending on the pressure level used, these units can provide overnight power for several nights before needing a recharge. Don’t want to spring for another machine? No worries, universal battery packs are also available for most major CPAP machine models on the market. These batteries are small, long lasting, and utilize the latest in battery advances. And most major companies, such as Resmed and Respironics offer car cigarette lighter adapters which make RV or car camping with CPAP easy.

For more information about traveling with CPAP, contact a qualified DME provider like the ones at Oregon Sleep Associates.

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