Concerned About Medical Certification

Topic 23988 | Page 1

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Alan C.'s Comment
member avatar

I've been considering getting my CDL for over a year. I'm currently 60 and have become burned out on working in an office cube and all the politics, etc. I'd really like to get out of a building and have a little bit of autonomy and I like driving, so there you go.

My primary concern is that I've been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and have been on meds for it for over a year. It's never a problem when I'm awake, but when I'm sleeping horizontal sometimes I would stop breathing for a few seconds which causes my heart to freak out and triggers the arrhythmia. It does not happen when I'm on my medication. I've had a sleep study done back when this first became a problem and although this is what they found they did not return a diagnosis of sleep apnea.

I don't plan on doing long haul overnights or team driving, there are lots of opportunities here for local runs. I'd even be happy doing dump truck and/or rolloff truck driving that only requires a CDL B. My question is will my medical issues be a problem if I have never had an episode when awake, and even when I've woken up with an arrhythmia I'm not lightheaded, I just have to take it slow until things return to normal. Will they take things like this into account or will I be rejected out of hand?

Thanks!

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

I don't know the answer to your specific condition, but this is what happened to me. I'm 66 and went in for my FedMed physical about 6 weeks ago. My blood pressure was high, no other issues, but I could only get certified for 12 months instead of 24 months. So they gave me a year to get the BP down. This probably has nothing to do with your question, but I know they are strict in some areas. Hopefully, someone here will enlighten us on your particular condition.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Alan C.'s Comment
member avatar

I don't know the answer to your specific condition, but this is what happened to me. I'm 66 and went in for my FedMed physical about 6 weeks ago. My blood pressure was high, no other issues, but I could only get certified for 12 months instead of 24 months. So they gave me a year to get the BP down. This probably has nothing to do with your question, but I know they are strict in some areas. Hopefully, someone here will enlighten us on your particular condition.

Thanks Bruce. I know there are a lot of posts here about sleep apnea , hopefully someone can shed some light on how my particular problem might be handled. I just don't want to invest a lot of effort and planning into something that I'm not able to complete.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Alan have you discussed your desire to become a truck driver with your personal Doc.? I think that’s a good place to start.

At the very least when you are filling out the long form, you’ll need to disclose the a-fib issue and provide as much supporting documentation as possible. Thus the reason why your Doc. needs to be on-board with your decision to pursue a trucking career.

Here is more info on the physical:

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Hypertension:

Abnormally high blood pressure.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

Alan C.'s Comment
member avatar

Alan have you discussed your desire to become a truck driver with your personal Doc.? I think that’s a good place to start.

At the very least when you are filling out the long form, you’ll need to disclose the a-fib issue and provide as much supporting documentation as possible. Thus the reason why your Doc. needs to be on-board with your decision to pursue a trucking career.

Here is more info on the physical:

Thanks for the suggestion and links. Yes I will definitely do that, just thought someone here might have had a similar situation.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Hypertension:

Abnormally high blood pressure.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

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