Obstructive sleep apnea affects around 20 million Americans and can lead to hypertension, heart attack, stroke, depression, muscle pain, fibromyalgia, morning headaches, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Trucking Industry Takes Initiative in Sleep Apnea Diagnosis and Treatment

On a number of occasions, we have discussed the dangers obstructive sleep apnea poses for truck drivers and those who share the highways with them. We have discussed the decision some trucking companies have made to begin screening drivers, the FMCSA's potential rules on sleep apnea, and the challenge these rules present for dental appliance users.

Sleep apnea testing is not yet required for commercial truck drivers. However, a number of trucking companies have established their own sleep apnea testing and treatment plans. These trucking companies have been working with private contractors to identify drivers who are at risk for sleep apnea and get them tested. Once sleep apnea sufferers are identified, they are matched up with appropriate sleep apnea treatment to reduce their risk of daytime sleepiness.

There are a number of motivators behind the trucking companies' actions. Truck accidents are expensive for trucking companies. And, as lawyers have pointed out, once truck companies are aware of a risk, they have a responsibility to prevent it, something that may become the basis for truck accident lawsuits in the future. Even if an apneic trucker is not involved in an accident, the trucking company may face serious expense due to the numerous health conditions that are associated with sleep apnea and will be covered under company health insurance.

As trucking companies move ahead of FMCSA regulations, it is hoped that they move to embrace all sleep apnea treatment options.

To learn more about all the successful sleep apnea treatment options available, please contact a local sleep dentist today.

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posted by Dr. Candelaria at 3:26 PM