Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects many Americans and may be linked to several recent major train accidents. The potentially serious condition can affect people when they’re both asleep and awake, and a large amount of affected people don’t even know they have it.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that causes the inability to breathe during sleep. The disorder causes the airway to close during sleep, robbing the victim of necessary air and adequate rest. A person with sleep apnea often stops breathing multiple times throughout the night. While an affected individual may not completely wake up when his or her breathing is interrupted, this disturbs the person’s sleep and can lead to dangerous daytime drowsiness.
Many individuals don’t know they have this fatigue-inducing disorder, but there are certain symptoms to look for.
- Waking with a very dry or a sore throat
- Morning headaches and forgetfulness
- Waking with gasping or a choking feeling
- Gasping or snorting during sleep
Many who have sleep apnea report a general grogginess or sleepiness throughout the day. The lack of sufficient sleep could result in potentially dangerous situations, particularly if the individual is behind the wheel of a car or operating other heavy machinery.
Train Crashes Attributed to Sleep Apnea
A recent string of train crashes may be linked to sleep apnea. These particular crashes have occurred during the early morning hours and appear to result from the operator falling asleep. While the cause of a recent train crash in Brooklyn that injured over 100 people is currently uncertain, the accident occurred in the morning hours after the operator sped up and crashed into the station at the end of the track.
Another similar incident that occurred in the Bronx resulted in a lawsuit. The operator claimed to have sleep apnea and sued the train company because of a lack of proper controls.
While sleep apnea may not ultimately be the cause of many of these recent train crashes, it’s still a risk factor that could result in serious injury or death. The best way to avoid issues regarding sleep apnea is for individuals to speak with their physician, who may be able to provide the proper diagnosis and treatment.