Undiagnosed sleep apnea leads to injury and job loss

sleep apnea affects job

Think your lack of sleep doesn’t affect your job?  Think again.

When your brain is starved of oxygen during an episode of sleep apnea, you cannot expect to perform your best at work the next day. You may experience trouble focusing and concentrating. You will feel sluggish and sleepy during the day. You may also experience headaches and other symptoms. When you are anything less than 100%, your productivity suffers. You also raise the risk of having an accident either at work, at home, or while driving.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia studied more than 1,200 patients who presented to their sleep lab to compare the incidence of workplace injuries between people with sleep apnea and those without. Nearly 1,000 patients were ultimately diagnosed with sleep apnea AND had at least one workplace injury claim that resulted in at least one day of missed work. [read the full study]

These are patients with undiagnosed sleep apnea, which is a major risk factor for motor vehicle crashes as well as work-related injuries. We are talking about serious “accidents” that can lead to permanent disability and sometimes death.

If you’re not concerned about the risk of injury, then perhaps the risk of losing your job would be more devastating. People who suffer from sleep deprivation are more likely to make mistakes at work. Sleep deprivation can have a negative impact on your creativity, your mood, your stress level, and your risk for serious health problems like diabetes and cancer.

If you have a sleep disorder, the only way to reduce your risk of injury or job loss is to seek treatment. This typically involves the use of a breathing machine called a CPAP or BiPAP to help you sleep.  Treatment for sleep apnea cannot begin without a diagnosis, which often involves monitoring your breathing patterns while you sleep.

If you think you may suffer from sleep apnea, call Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine at 8154777350. Our sleep medicine specialist can answer any questions you have about diagnosing and treating sleep disorders including obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA).

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