Chances are you know someone who suffers from obstructive sleep apnea whether you know it or not. People who suffer from this condition can easily lead normal lives with the right treatment. However, without treatment, it can cause severe fatigue, among other things.
This may not impact the lives of some people, and you may not give it a second thought if a friend or family member tells you about his or her condition. But for those who work in occupations that require them to drive, it can present a significant hazard. Would it surprise you to know that approximately one-third of all truck drivers suffer from mild to severe sleep apnea?
What happens to people who have sleep apnea?
People who suffer from this condition have trouble breathing while they sleep. Their throat muscles relax intermittently to the point where they actually stop breathing multiple times a night. As you can imagine, this makes it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Most people who suffer from this condition experience the following problems:
- They experience difficulty concentrating.
- They suffer from excessive drowsiness during the day.
- They suffer from headaches.
- They often feel irritable.
- They may suffer from other medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, erectile dysfunction (in men) and depression.
- Their risk of cardiac problems is often higher than that of others who don’t suffer from sleep apnea.
Getting through the day under these conditions is often frustrating and challenging. Imagine being behind the wheel of a large vehicle that weighs up to 80,000 pounds. Sleep apnea treatment involves the use of a machine that provides continuous positive airway pressure, called a CPAP machine, while they sleep so they don’t stop breathing during the night. Using this machine makes it possible to have a better night’s sleep and feel more refreshed and alert during the day.
What about truck drivers who don’t receive treatment?
Without the proper treatment, a truck driver more than likely experienced some or all of the above symptoms. This makes them a risk to everyone on the road. If you encounter a truck driver not in treatment for sleep apnea, you could end up suffering serious injuries. If it turns out that this is the case, the driver’s untreated medical condition could provide you with the proof of negligence you need as you pursue the compensation you deserve.
Discovering this fact may not be as easy as you think since the truck driver will more than likely not volunteer the information. As is the case with most personal injury claims, a thorough investigation into the circumstances leading up to the crash will usually yield the information needed to present to the court. You will more than likely benefit from the assistance and guidance of an experienced California attorney as you move through this process.