Sleeping disorders cause higher risks of traffic accidents

August 3, 2014 4:04 pm

Consultants at the University Hospital Sharjah have warned against the effects of diagnosed sleeping disorders, the world’s third most common group of diseases after asthma and pulmonary diseases, stating that people who consistently fail to get enough rest and sleep at night are at an increased risk of injury and traffic accidents.

UHS’ consultants have stated that poor sleeping may lead to sleep apnoea during which high carbon dioxide levels cause the person to wake up and breathe normally to restore oxygen levels. This disruption of normal sleep patterns negatively affects individuals during waking periods, causing severe headaches, strain and sudden lapse into sleep that may cause fatal risks such as traffic accidents.

Dr Mohammed Al Masalmeh, Pulmonary and Respiratory Consultant at the University Hospital Sharjah, said, “Sleeping disorders are of high prevalence in contemporary life due to a range of stressors, including workplace pressure, constant anxiety on how to earn a living, and fear of losing source of income among many other situations which lead to emotional, psychological, and behavioural instability, marital problems, and lack of concentration at the workplace. These result in increased sleeping disorders, a disease that is of local and international concern.”

Al Masalmeh added, “Signs of this disorder include snoring, which is not a problem in itself unless accompanied by diurnal somnolence and obstructive sleep apnoea. The major problem here is that sleeping disorders may lead to heart diseases, hypertension, cardiac ischemia and chest pains. These disorders may, sometimes, lead to paraplegia.”

He further remarked, “It is critical not to neglect the above signs as the early control of disease ensures immediate body response to treatment and higher rate of recovery. We at the University Hospital Sharjah deal with many cases of sleeping disorders by placing a device in the body to record biophysical activities, oxygen saturation, airflow, muscle and chest activity. The test can be conducted at home or at the hospital. The results have been outstanding and have made a significant difference to patients, helping them restore their psychological, social, and professional stability.”

Consultants at the UHS follow up a number of treatment steps such as awareness, medical and surgical treatment in the light of the accurate diagnosis to identify the cause of problem. The treatment includes the use of respiratory support devices and other oral devices as well as the use of specific drugs that accelerate recovery, after making sure that the body does not develop any other symptoms that may, directly or indirectly, affect the respiratory system.

Consultants may consider surgical intervention in cases of enlarged tonsils. The procedure includes the removal the soft tissues that obstruct breathing and expand the pharynx cavity. Awareness support includes advising obese patients to lose weight, use pillows with specific height during sleep, and avoid the negative effects of alcohol consumption, avoid fatigue and take enough rest to ensure good productivity and a stable life.