Researchers from Sweden conducted a study that found patients with obstructive sleep apnea have as much as 2.5 times higher risk of being the person the vehicle involved in an accident, compared to drivers in the overall population that do not have the disorder.
Study senior author Lutger Grote of University of Gothemburg, Sweden said the study provides strong evidence that patients with sleep apnea have a significant higher traffic risks.
Also, the study shows that obstructive sleep apnea patients who use the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy for four hours on average per night reduced the risk of accidents by as much as seventy percent.
The study conveys that in addition to sleep apnea, other contributing factors to driving accidents include too much sleepiness during daytime, a sleeping time of five hours or less every night, and the use of sleeping pills.
In the study, more than 1,400 patients with obstructive sleep apnea were involved, age 54 of average. Seventy percent of participants were men.
Timothy Morgenthaler, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, said the effective identification and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea is crucial to decreasing avoidable and life threatening vehicular accidents caused by drowsy driving.
The findings were published in journal Sleep.