Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sleep apnea and truck drivers

I have read quite a bit on sleep apnea and truck drivers. There have been many tragic accidents involving drivers who have fallen asleep causing fatal wrecks. It seems that some trucking agencies are being proactive and testing their drivers for sleep apnea and paying for their cpaps if needed. I think this is a great idea.

But why stop at truck drivers? With Americans gaining more and more weight every year, sleep apnea is becoming more prevalent. Sleep studies, cpaps, dental devices and all things related to sleep apnea have become big business. Testing should available to people who fall in the high risk category of sleep apnea. Although being overweight is a major cause of sleep apnea it isn’t the only cause. Remember you can be thin and have sleep apnea. Other factors such as an enlarged tongue or the structure of your face can cause obstructive sleep apnea. And of course there is central sleep apnea, although rare, which has nothing to do with body size.

Hopefully the serious problems of sleep apnea such as heart disease and diabetes, along with falling asleep at the wheel will be given more attention in the future.

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  1. Excellent post, David. I know that some trucking agencies are resisting on the grounds of "individual rights," but what about the right of the rest of us not to be killed on the roads by a drowsy driver? And that does, indeed, go for everybody on the road.

    Steve Gardner
    Executive Director
    Reggie White Sleep Disorders
    Research & Education Foundation

  2. I am a thin person who has severe obstructive sleep apnea. Isn't it recommended that everyone have their blood pressure, blood-glucose, and lipid levels checked at least once per year? Due to the high prevalence and seriousness of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), I strongly believe everyone should be screened for SDB once per year.


  3. Thanks for the comment Steve. I visited your website and it is great to see an organization dedicated to a great cause and in the memory of a great person, Reggie White.
    I'll put your link on my blog.