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Sleep Apnea: Not Just a Poor Night’s Sleep

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 40 million Americans suffer from some type of chronic sleep disorder, costing employers an estimated $18 billion loss in productivity due to persistent sleep deprivation. Yet, 95% of these people remain undiagnosed and untreated. One of those commonly undiagnosed sleep disorders is sleep apnea.

What initially appears as another case of snoring may actually progress into obstructive sleep apnea, a serious disorder where the muscles in your throat temporarily relax and close off your airway. A patient with sleep apnea may not breathe again for another 10 to 20 seconds or more, until they awake once again with a loud snort or cough. Such pauses may occur more than 20 or 30 times an hour, thrusting you back and forth between the light and deep stages of sleep all night long.

Daytime Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Most cases of sleep apnea go undiagnosed because the symptoms you experience during the day can simply be attributed to a poor night’s sleep. However, it is because of the sleep apnea that your body cannot get proper rest. The following list is just a few symptoms of sleep apnea that you may experience throughout the day:

  • Severe fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Poor memory
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Morning headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Falling asleep inappropriately
  • Chronic weight gain

The effects of sleep apnea on your body can be detrimental or dangerous to your work. According to The National Sleep Foundation, drowsiness can increase aggressive behavior, reduce reaction time, impair good judgment, and decrease performance in drivers. In fact, the Department of Transportation is now implementing new treatment guidelines for commercial drivers diagnosed with chronic sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, to prevent fatigue-related accidents in the future. MD Now Urgent Care physicians are now performing DOT Physical Exams for truckers, bus drivers and those with commercial licenses. Our physicians can also screen for Sleep Apnea and order any testing that would be required.

If you are one of those commercial drivers affected by the new guidelines or would like to be tested for sleep apnea in Florida, please contact MD Now to schedule a consultation with one of our DOT-certified physicians.