The ZZZ Program

Sleep Tight & Drive Right
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Introduction

If you are a commercial truck driver or a truck company, you may be overlooking an important elements of safety — getting adequate rest. Do you know if you are compliant with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations concerning sleep apnea?

The most common form of sleep apnea is Obstructive Sleep Apena (OSA). This is a serious sleep breathing disorder that can affect your health and negatively impact your safety, productivity, and insurance premiums. OSA occurs while you are asleep, causing a decrease or absence of airflow and disruption in a person’s sleep cycle.

A study sponsored by the FMCSA and the American Transportation Research Institute of the American Trucking Association on sleep apnea found that 28.1% of those studied, holding a commercial drivers license, had some form of sleep apnea. This can have significant consequences.

Currently the US Department of Transportation requires a fitness for duty certificate for all drivers to drive a commercial motor vehicle.  All drivers should consider being screened for sleep disorders including OSA as these disorders can interfere with the ability to control and drive a motor vehicle safely. The Lung Disease Center of Central PA’s Team in the Sleep Disorder Network is prepared to help you comply with these regulations and diagnose OSA. We have devoted resources and time to develop a program specific to the trucking industry to address OSA.

 

Statistics

As statistics show, OSA should not be taken lightly. The risks taken by individuals with untreated OSA are not necessary when you consider all the options for treatment available through the Sleep Disorder Network.

Sleep Apnea Statistics

  • Over 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea
  • An estimated 10 million Americans remain undiagnosed
  • Over 50% of all apnea cases are diagnoses in people age 40 and over
  • It is more prevalent in men than in women
  • Sufferers are 6 times more likely to die in an auto accident
  • A minimum 100,000 car accidents, 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths per year are due to sleep apnea
  • Untreated sufferers are 4 times more likely to have a stroke
  • Untreated sufferers are 3 times more likely to have heart diseases
  • 50% of sufferers have hypertension

CDL Holders Statistics

  • 28% suffer from some level of sleep apnea
  • 4.7% suffer from severe sleep apnea
  • 5.8% have moderate sleep apnea
  • 17.6% have mild sleep apnea

CDL Holders Treated for Sleep Apnea

  • 73% reduction in preventable driving accidents
  • 48% reduction in annual health care costs
  • Retention rate 2.29 times greater than company-wide driver retention rates

 

Symptoms & Treatment

Symptoms

  • Daytime Sleepiness
  • Witnessed Apneas
  • Hypertension
  • Large Neck Circumference
  • Frequent Urination at Night
  • Gasping/Choking During Sleep
  • Loud Snoring
  • Obesity
  • Morning Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Fragmented Sleep

Benefits of Treatment

  • Increased energy and attentiveness
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Decreased risk for strokes and heart attacks
  • Increased effectiveness with work and personal life
  • Improved quality of life

During the study, the technician observes sleep activity by looking at the video monitor and the computer screen that displays all the data second by second. In most labs the test is completed and the patient is discharged home by 7 a.m. unless a Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) is to be done during the day to test for excessive daytime sleepiness.

Our physicians can perform the initial screening for OSA by using several measures such as a sleep questionnaire, body mass index, neck size.

If they are diagnosed with OSA, patients can be expected to be treated with positive airway pressure therapy, or PAP, and be fitted with equipment by a Registered Sleep Technologists.

Have you seen the Epworth Sleepiness Scale? Click here to be taken to the test.

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