A recent study from St. James University Hospital in England shows that those suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are more likely to fail a simulated driving test than those who do not have the condition.

This Leeds-based study was conducted in two waves.
The first portion of the study looked at 222 individuals’ (133 with untreated OSA and 89 without the condition) driving abilities during a 90-kilometer (56 miles) simulated driving test. The simulation looked at the time it took to complete the test, time spent in the middle lane and the number of car crashes. The study showed 24 percent of those with OSA failed the test, compared to the 12 percent of those without sleep apnea.

The second portion of the study analyzed results from 187 participants (118 with OSA and 69 without) who, in addition to the simulation test, also filled out a questionnaire regarding their driving history. According to the study, 35 percent of those questioned stated they fell asleep while driving and 38 percent of them failed the test. Although 11
percent admitted to nodding off while driving, everyone without OSA passed the test.

OSA, a potentially life-threatening condition in which breathing subsides for more than 10 seconds at a time during sleep, is known to cause many other health conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, heart failure, heart disease and cancer. When OSA goes untreated, individuals are more likely to experience chronic health issues.

With the prevalence of sleep apnea nationwide, it’s important to seek help if you think you have OSA. For more information on a home-based sleep study, visit our website: www.blackstonemedicalservices.com.

If you’d like to see how awake you are while driving, check out this game.