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Many Patients Suffer Sleep Apnea after a Spinal Cord Injury

Posted on February 16, 2016 by Disability Help Group

Recent research published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine suggests that sleep apnea could be a significant problem for many people who have sustained a spinal cord injury. This stems from a small study involving 26 people with either cervical (15 patients) or thoracic (11 patients) injuries.

The researchers found that 92 percent of the patients didn’t get proper sleep, and that 77 percent experienced difficulties breathing during sleep. Further, 59 percent experienced excessive daytime sleepiness and 96 percent reported daytime fatigue.

The results of these findings included two different types of sleep apnea—central and obstructive. The researchers found that central sleep apnea was more common in cervical spine injury patients than thoracic spine injury patients. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain doesn’t signal the muscles that control breathing, leading to periods where breathing stops and starts throughout the night.

Some had both obstructive and central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the result of frequent blockages (partial or complete) in the upper airway.

These findings suggest the need to evaluate patients who have suffered spinal cord injuries for the potential of sleep apnea. Detecting this condition can ensure that the patient receives proper treatment.

Social Security Disability for Spinal Cord Injury

A spinal cord injury can have a devastating effect on a patient’s life, such as when it causes permanent paralysis. Amongst other things, it may prevent the individual from working. And since this type of injury can happen at any age, it could impact a younger or middle-aged adult who still has many more years ahead before retirement.

Along with impaired loss of movement, there could be other complications that affect the individual. In addition to sleep apnea there may be chronic pain, loss of bladder/bowel control and debilitating depression.

Social Security disability benefits may be available. It’s important to consider all impairments when filing a claim. For help, call Disability Help Group at 1-(800)-800-3332 today.