But it ultimately wears you down. If snoring doesn’t drive you to the doctor, fatigue may. Still, many power through, gradually becoming too tired to perform their jobs well or safely. Untreated train, bus and truck drivers clearly pose a significant public safety risk.
Definitively diagnosing the condition requires a sleep test — either at home, or more extensively in a lab. Getting wired up for bed isn’t much fun, which is another reason people may avoid seeking a diagnosis. Professional drivers and train operators also may worry that doing so could threaten their livelihood. To dodge screens for the condition, they may underreport feeling drowsy.
There may also be fear of sleep apnea treatments. The gold standard for treatment is a continuous positive airway pressure machine, which forces the airway open with pressure delivered through a mask. The prospect of sleeping with a mask, and next to a machine, can be off-putting and, for some, uncomfortable. Compliance with treatment is about 60 percent. But the devices have become far more comfortable and quiet over the years. (The newest models are entirely silent.)
For obese patients, losing weight can reverse sleep apnea. But keeping the weight off is
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