Do you feel drowsy while driving?
Drowsy while driving, it doesn’t sound too serious but it can be deadly. Driving when drowsy is just as serious as driving under the influence of alcohol.
Drivers who are tired and sleepy have delayed reactions and make bad decisions. The damage can be permanent and lead to injuries and even death, affecting the driver and potentially others as well.
What can cause drowsiness?
Drowsiness can be a symptom of an underlying condition, sleep apnea. Sleep Apnea is where the upper airway muscles relax including those that control the tongue and throat, the walls of the throat come together blocking the airway. Breathing may stop for a period of time until the brain registers the lack of oxygen and sends a wakeup call to the body, disrupting sleep.
In most cases people do not know that they suffer sleep apnea, they don’t even remember waking up. This leaves a person feeling as though they have had an unrefreshed sleep, daytime sleepiness, poor concentration, poor work performance and fatigue.
How can I find out if I have Sleep Apnea?
There a few simple questionnaires that can be completed that may indicate that you have sleep apnea, these include the Epworth Sleepiness Scale and the Stop Bang Score.
You can also discuss with your GP or Dentist a referral to a Sleep Specialist to have a Home Based Sleep study completed. This monitors your sleep cycle and many other indicators of sleep quality.
Following the sleep study your Dentist will receive a report indicating if treatment is required and if in fact if you do have sleep apnea.
Depending on the severity of your sleep apnea there are different options.
- CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure)
- Oral Appliance Therapy
How can we help?
Dr Fleming and Hartwell Dentistry provide state of the art Dental Sleep Medicine for the treatment of sleep apnea and snoring. Dr Fleming is a member of the Australian Sleep Association (ASA) and has completed their accredited course; attends their Annual Conference and other workshops and seminars. Hartwell Dentistry works with several Sleep Physicians in helping patients.
If you think you may have sleep apnea, contact Hartwell Dentistry to find out more. Don’t wait until the next time you’re driving and your eyelids start drooping, it may be too late.
We are here to help.