Almost one out of three of commercial truck drivers have mild to severe sleep apnea, according to a study sponsored by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and American Transportation Research Institute.
It’s an important issue, so we’ve compiled a complete guide to truck driver sleep apnea, including treatment, testing, CDL sleep apnea rules, regulations and compliance.
What is sleep apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs when a person’s breathing becomes obstructed during sleep due to throat muscles that relax intermittently, meaning they stop breathing. This results in the person not reaching the full restorative REM sleep cycle.
Sleep apnea can result in:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
How is sleep apnea treated?
Recent breakthroughs from the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine now allow patients with sleep apnea to get off the C-PAP. It has been found that the air passages that get closed while sleeping can also be held open using a comfortable easy to wear dental appliance – kind of like a mouth guard.
This treatment helps you to get a good night’s sleep without the bulky mask, machine and without bothering the loved ones around you.
After treatment, people with sleep apnea feel more refreshed and rested. Some also experience improvement in other medical conditions such as cardiac issues, high blood pressure and diabetes.
What are the risks of untreated sleep apnea?
Possible risks include:
- Cardiac risk
- Erectile dysfunction
Can you drive a truck if you have sleep apnea?
Yes. If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and your doctor told you that you need to treat it, you can continue to drive as long as you are compliant with treatment.
Will sleep apnea affect your CDL?
Your sleep apnea will likely result in a DOT medical certification card only being issued for one year instead of the possible two years.
However, as long as you are compliant with treatment, there should not be an issue being granted a medical certification and keeping your CDL.
Can you lose your license if you have sleep apnea?
If you have sleep apnea and are told you require treatment by a doctor and are not compliant with treatment, you could potentially not be granted a DOT medical certification, which is required when driving in interstate commerce.
If you are denied a medical certification, the state can downgrade your CDL as a result.
Keeping your smile healthy well into the future starts with creating healthy at-home habits followed by regular visits to our Kansas City Dentist twice a year. To learn more about your treatment options, call Drake Family Dentistry to schedule your next cleaning and examination.