The Connection Between Spinal Cord Injuries and Sleep Apnea

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with a spinal cord injury after being involved in a car accident on Chandler roadways or you were a pedestrian who was struck by a car in Phoenix, there’s one thing your healthcare providers need to check for: sleep apnea.

A recent study indicates that up to 77 percent of people with spinal cord injuries suffer from sleep apnea, which can be a very dangerous condition. (You can read about the study here.)

Spinal cord injuries and sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious disorder that causes you to stop breathing. If you have a spinal cord injury, you may also have sleep apnea. However, it can be difficult to detect. It’s important to know that sleep apnea has many negative effects that can make your day-to-day life harder.

Some of the symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Sleepiness during the day and difficulty staying asleep at night. Your sleep is interrupted when you have sleep apnea; and you can’t get the proper amount of rest to feel refreshed and rejuvenated in the morning.
  • Loud snoring. Snoring isn’t always an indicator of sleep apnea; but it may show that your throat muscles aren’t working properly due to sleep apnea.
  • Waking up with a dry mouth, a sore throat or a headache. Because sleep apnea can force you to breathe through your mouth, you can end up feeling it in the morning.
  • Attention problems. Because your sleep patterns are confused when you have sleep apnea, you may have difficulty focusing or paying attention.

What Does Sleep Apnea Have to Do with Personal Injury Law?

If you’ve suffered from a spinal cord injury, whether it was mild, moderate or severe, it’s important that you have your doctor evaluate you for sleep apnea. Because it’s often a direct result of the injury, and because it may be a condition that requires continuing medical treatment, you’ll need to let your lawyer know if you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea. You may be able to collect damages for your spinal cord injury and your subsequent sleep apnea if the two are connected.

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