As you know, two New York City train crashes occurred because the conductors had sleep apnea, but didn’t know. This brings to awareness just how important it is to get a diagnosis, but also learn what those signs and symptoms are so you can be on the lookout. And while you might not realize you have it, a loved one might. Undiagnosed sleep apnea was a probable cause in both New York City commuter train crashes. The engineers had no memory of the events and were later diagnosed with sleep apnea.

How is this linked?

Let’s start with the basics. Sleep apnea is a chronic disorder in which breathing can pause for a few seconds to minutes many times an hour during sleep. It can often go undiagnosed because it can’t be detected during routine doctor visits or by a blood test. Instead, most diagnoses come at the urging of a bed partner. Sleep apnea increases the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, obesity and diabetes. It can also be associated with irregular heartbeats and heart failure.

Excessive daytime sleepiness can often result from a poor night’s sleep, which is a common symptom of sleep apnea. A member of your family might also notice your snoring, snorting or choking during sleep, which are also some of the first signs of sleep apnea. Both engineers might have frequently felt tired and tossed it up to not enough sleep instead of an actual diagnosis.

To protect yourself, your health and the people around you, it is important to seek further care and diagnosis if you suspect you might be suffering from sleep apnea. Contact Dr. Mayoor Patel at  Craniofacial Pain & Dental Sleep Center of Georgia for more information on sleep apnea.