Seeking Advice From Drivers Dealing With Asthma And Sleep Apnea

Topic 24668 | Page 1

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B_Dawg's Comment
member avatar

So, brief backstory I have been off the road for about 6 months having asthma and sleep apnea checked out. My apnea is apparently very minor and I don't require a mask, at least at this time. My asthma is mild and infrequent. I have an albuterol inhaler that I use only in emergencies. I take Breo/Advair in the morning and Singulair at night before bed to manage the condition. My doctor has given me clearance to return to work, and I feel I can do so without limitation. I submitted the return to work forms to my company to review and I expect they will want a new physical and possibly a second opinion from their doctors...so this could very well be rendered moot depending what the review board decides.

I know there are drivers out there, including flatbedders, who function perfectly fine with asthma and allergies that are much more severe than what I have. I'm curious to hear any advice or tips. What precautions do you take to avoid triggers and prevent an attack? Situations drivers have to deal with everyday like being stuck in gridlock or being parked at truck stops and shippers/receivers or dealing with hot weather, etc when your limited in what you can do to avoid triggers. I'm sure there are things I haven't thought of. Your experiences are welcome!

Obviously, I won't know for sure how my body will respond until I get back out on the road and am actually in those situations. If my condition worsens in any way or I can't keep it under control then I'll need to find a new career, and I can accept that. I worked hard for the opportunity to be a truck driver, and if my doctor sees no reason to pull me off the road then I'm darn sure going to try and make it work!

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I'm gonna bump this because we missed it somehow. I know a lot of you have dealt with these kind of issues and can offer some guidance.

Rainy 's Comment
member avatar

I dont have asthma, but do have an APAP.

Things i found that help

1.) Be sure to.change your filters and buy the optional HEPA filter

2.) when congested i place vicks vapor rub near the intake. Not sure you can do this with your asthma.

3.) I bought cleaning machines that do a better job killing the bacteria than I could do. If your machine isny clean enough, your asthma wont be good.

VirtuClean vs SoClean Review

4.) I bought a Comfort Fit Curved pillow from Sleep Number Beds Store. Its much better than regular or even the Contour Pillow. Contour Pillow has a model specifically for cpap wearers. it has a tether to hold the hose in place. I hated it. The Comfort Fit has done wonders for me, my mom, and my best friend.

Hope this helps

0087420001550853660.jpg

CPAP:

Constant Positive Airway Pressure

CPAP is a breathing assist device which is worn over the mouth or nose. It provides nighttime relief for individuals who suffer from Sleep Apnea.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

So you are saying your polysomnography said you do not need a CPAP? And the doctor stated this in the report?

Now if your company's doctor insists on you getting one anyway, you'll need verified usage/compliance after obtaining the machine. It's easy to do as most machines have an SD card that will show proof of compliance. If the company doctor doesn't insist you get one anyway, you're good to go with that.

As far as your asthma goes. change your in cab filters regularly and keep your heat and/or AC on the recirculation mode to keep outdoor irritants from being sucked into your cab. Clean and dust your truck frequently. I have seasonal allergies myself (quite badly) and diesel exhaust fumes from the older trucks idling in the truck stops just really give me fits when there's a bunch of them.

Another thing, stress and emotional upsets can certainly exacerbate your asthma so attempt to stay calm and relaxed as much as possible.

Do you know what substances are your most common triggers? Me.. I don't have asthma, but dust and mold (so wet weather) just tear me up lol. So I keep my truck as clean as possible. I only take Zyrtec and Flonase for my allergies.

Also, do you know how to tell if yours MDI is empty or getting low? Simply sit the cannisters in a container of water. A full canister will sink, and the more empty it becomes, the more it floats. Your advair is a dry powder inhaler so that simply has the counter on it.

Make sure you keep a spare Albuterol or combivent with you. You may wish to discuss with your doctor possibly getting a portable nebulizer as a backup.

Do you use a spacer with your Albuterol MDI? Many people don't use them correctly, so make sure a healthcare practioner watches you use it so make sure you are using it correctly. Many people erroneously put the inhaler in their mouth and end up just spraying the medication in the back of their throat. Proper spacing (you need to "huff" the medication into your lungs) between the MDI and your mouth is extremely important. I am an RRT actually. I wish you the best. I really don't see a reason why you cannot drive as long as you take good care of yourself.

CPAP:

Constant Positive Airway Pressure

CPAP is a breathing assist device which is worn over the mouth or nose. It provides nighttime relief for individuals who suffer from Sleep Apnea.

Dave Reid's Comment
member avatar

I use a CPAP even though my sleep apnea is very mild. I used a special pillow, and sleep at least part of the night on my back with a fat cushion under my knees. I take a Zytec and use Flonase daily as a preventative. Works for me.

So, brief backstory I have been off the road for about 6 months having asthma and sleep apnea checked out. My apnea is apparently very minor and I don't require a mask, at least at this time. My asthma is mild and infrequent. I have an albuterol inhaler that I use only in emergencies. I take Breo/Advair in the morning and Singulair at night before bed to manage the condition. My doctor has given me clearance to return to work, and I feel I can do so without limitation. I submitted the return to work forms to my company to review and I expect they will want a new physical and possibly a second opinion from their doctors...so this could very well be rendered moot depending what the review board decides.

I know there are drivers out there, including flatbedders, who function perfectly fine with asthma and allergies that are much more severe than what I have. I'm curious to hear any advice or tips. What precautions do you take to avoid triggers and prevent an attack? Situations drivers have to deal with everyday like being stuck in gridlock or being parked at truck stops and shippers/receivers or dealing with hot weather, etc when your limited in what you can do to avoid triggers. I'm sure there are things I haven't thought of. Your experiences are welcome!

Obviously, I won't know for sure how my body will respond until I get back out on the road and am actually in those situations. If my condition worsens in any way or I can't keep it under control then I'll need to find a new career, and I can accept that. I worked hard for the opportunity to be a truck driver, and if my doctor sees no reason to pull me off the road then I'm darn sure going to try and make it work!

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.

CPAP:

Constant Positive Airway Pressure

CPAP is a breathing assist device which is worn over the mouth or nose. It provides nighttime relief for individuals who suffer from Sleep Apnea.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rainy 's Comment
member avatar
take a Zytec and use Flonase daily as a preventative

My safety department said we arent allowed to use Zyrtec...so ask your company first

Dave Reid's Comment
member avatar

That is sad...makes no sense. Zyrtec is a modern non-sedating antihistamine similar to Claritin. I couldn't work without it.

double-quotes-start.png

take a Zytec and use Flonase daily as a preventative

double-quotes-end.png

My safety department said we arent allowed to use Zyrtec...so ask your company first

Rainy 's Comment
member avatar

Yeah, i know. i take it periodically on home time if i need it. Now my cat is taking it daily. $20 a bottle for a cat smh lol

Robert D. (Raptor)'s Comment
member avatar

Though I don't suffer from asthma, I do have the sleep mask mine is the nasal pillow type. The others don't work for me because I have a beard. They suggest that I shave it off so I can get the latest version. I politely told them NO.I said if I won't shave it off for my 97 year old mother why would you be able to talk me into it. Sorry I got off topic. The new machines are very quite and though cleaning them is a royal pain, I can sleep through the bite and not have to wake up half dozen times.

I think Dave Reid and I have the same model. As for the allergy meds they only take care of it up to a point.

Raptor

B_Dawg's Comment
member avatar

Really appreciate the input!

@Susan, it's complicated. My lab study indicated I have sleep apnea. When I was sent for the calibration test to see how much pressure the mask needs to apply, that is what the insurance denied. Apparently, it's mild enough they want to "treat it with weight loss" and my doctor agreed. He didn't even recommend an APAP. My appeal is still under review, so we'll see what happens. In the meantime, I have an appointment with an ENT on Friday and I'm going to see what he says. If I do get the green light from my company, I may check into getting a portable nebulizer for emergencies.

@Rainy, I have tried pillows like that before and they didn't help much. I can't sleep on my back, so I end up on my side with my arm under the pillow...which is probably why my right shoulder makes the strange noises it does.

As for my asthma, I have an Advair inhaler that I take twice a day and an albuterol inhaler I take as needed. At night, I take Singulair before bed, which also helps for allergies. Thankfully, my asthma is also mild but it's triggered by the standard things you'd expect such as dust, pollen, cigarette smoke, etc. and it's worst in the fall, which I'm told is because of the bacteria that breaks down leaves after they fall.

I have taken Zyrtec for allergies. I'll be sure to check with my company to see if it's allowed.

I'm still waiting for a decision from my company's review board, but I'm hoping for an approval. I've lost 17 lbs since January and I think most of that is from pacing back and forth. I'll keep y'all posted.

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

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