One Quarter of Truck Drivers Suffer from Sleep Apnea

In 2002, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sponsored a study that showed, of the nearly three-and-a-half million truck drivers with a commercial license, 26% suffer with sleep apnea. This finding is a serious concern because sleep apnea significantly impairs driving ability and can lead to highway accidents. Many truck drivers avoid diagnosis because the FMCSA’s policy states that once diagnosed, a driver must be successfully treated before he or she can resume driving a commercial truck.

Because people with a body mass index over 30 are in a high risk category, the FMCSA board recommended in 2008 that drivers with a BMI over 30 must be screened for sleep apnea. The recommendation has not led to a change in policy as of yet.

As a sleep apnea doctor and general dentist, I treat sleep apnea with conservative oral appliance therapy. While the CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) machine is the gold standard for sleep apnea treatment, oral appliance therapy can be easier to comply with, particularly for people who travel.

Whether you’re a truck driver, medical doctor, teacher, or policeman, sleep apnea can inhibit your performance on the job. Most sleep apnea patients feel unrested, lethargic, and irritable. Oftentimes, these patients are forgetful and suffer with depression, as well.

If you show any of the symptoms mentioned in this article, if your BMI is over 30, or if you snore during sleep, schedule a consultation with me, Dr. James Stewart, in my Livonia dental office. We’ll talk about your symptoms and determine whether a sleep study is necessary. I want to help you enjoy refreshing sleep and productive days, so give me a call today!