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Train Crashes Linked to Sleep Apnea

With the news of yet another train accident - in this instance an Amtrak crash that killed two and injured 116 on Feb. 5 in South Carolina - many experts agree it’s time to talk about sleep apnea. Sleep apnea has been found to be a cause of a number of similary accidents in the past, but until now little has been done to address the problem. Starting January 23, 2018, the New York and Atlantic Railway began screening engineers and conductors for the sleeping disorder.

In November of last year, New Jersey Transit screened 373 of its engineers for sleep disorders and 57 were taken out of service for further testing after a woman was killed and 100 others were injured in a crash related to sleep apnea. Many similar stories have garnered media attention in the past. Sleep apnea affects a person's quality of sleep and in turn can cause daytime symptoms of excessive drowsiness, moodiness and even falling asleep while operating a vehicle, which can be deadly.

Of course public transportation isn’t the only area affected by sleep apnea-related accidents. Operating any equipment, machinery or even a personal vehicle with untreated sleep apnea can be dangerous. It’s important to be aware of symptoms and get tested right away if you think you may be suffering from the condition.

Symptoms include:

  • excessive daytime sleepiness
  • insomnia
  • snoring
  • gasping or choking sounds during sleep
  • depression or mood swings
  • irritability
  • weight gain
  • dry mouth upon waking

Some people report avoiding diagnosis and treatment for sleep apnea because they don’t want to be tied down to the traditional treatment of a CPAP machine. Dr. Buck uses a neuromuscular approach with a comfortable oral appliance to treat sleep apnea. There are no wires, cords or loud noises, just a simple retainer-like appliance worn in the mouth at night. 

To find out more, call 206-316-8286 today or visit our page on Sleep Apnea.


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Dr. Buck practices a philosophy that integrates airway into all diagnosis and treatments. Dentistry has traditionally not considered the airway when planning dental treatments. Fortunately, today there is a rapidly growing movement that now recognizes how dentistry can have an impact on the airway which affects breathing during sleep. If dental treatments, including TMJ, orthopedic and orthodontics are well planned the result can be that the airway is protected or even enhanced. There is a clear link between underdeveloped and retruded jaws together with narrow dental arches that puts a patient at risk for sleep breathing disorders.

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