Study links spinal cord injuries to sleep apnea

Pennsylvania residents who have sustained spinal cord injuries may be more likely to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, according to a study that was published in a medical journal. The study also found that almost all spinal cord injury patients have poor sleep quality. People with obstructive sleep apnea experiences numerous interruptions in their breathing while they are asleep.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are almost 200,000 people in the United States who currently are dealing with a spinal injury. Many of them may have a sleep disorder that has yet to be diagnosed. The lead researcher on the study said that every spinal cord injury patient should be thoroughly tested for sleep apnea. If the condition is not treated, it can cause neurological problems and high blood pressure.

The study was conducted using 26 chronic spinal cord injury patients. All of the patients had their lungs tested, participated in a sleep study and filled out a questionnaire. According to the results of the study, 77 percent of the patients had symptomatic sleep-disordered breathing, and 92 percent of the patients had poor sleep quality.

Injuries to the spinal cord can cause numerous health issues including breathing problems, muscle atrophy and paralysis. Long and expensive medical treatment may be required, and some victims may be unable to ever return to gainful employment, further worsening their financial condition. When such an injury has been the result of another party’s negligence, such as a car collision caused by an impaired driver, a lawyer can often provide assistance to a victim who is seeking compensation for those and other losses.