Diagnosed With Sleep Apnea, But Lost Weight And Quit Smoking.

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Appalachained's Comment
member avatar

So in Febuary 2019 I was considering leaving my current job ( high volume, full service car wash GM ) for another until I go to trucking school in April 2020 ( I have been planning on this for Five years now and can pass practice CDL permit practice tests at 98%-100% and am pretty sure I can do a pre trip inspection almost flawlessly) and I knew I would lose my health insurance. I have a strong family history of colon cancer on both sides and I hadn’t seen a doctor in 21 years. So I go to the doctor and found I was obese, had high blood pressure and prediabetes. I did a sleep study and was determined to have moderate sleep apnea. I didn’t get a CPAP because of the cost.

I decided to make a change. I worked a physical job, but put a lot of garbage in me. I was a two pack a day smoker. I drank 8-10 Coca-Colas everyday. I ate fast food three times a day and ate a lot of sweets just before bed.

Anyway I smoked my last cigarette on Valentine’s Day. I haven’t drank a Coca-Cola since March 1. I haven’t eaten fast food or any processed food or anything with added sugar since March 1. I had a checkup jut recently before I finally quit my job and my blood pressure is ideal. My blood sugar is normal and My BMI is in the normal range (23.95). I’ve lost 40 pounds to date. I made these changes of course for myself, but in anticipation of becoming a truck driver.

My issue is that I can’t afford to buy a CPAP machine now or do another sleep study to determine if the condition has changed now that I don’t have insurance. I however am sure that I sleep better now. Before the health changes i would sleep 5 hours a night max. If left alone for a few minutes I would fall asleep during the day. I used to wake up with headaches and would be groggy for the first couple hours of the day. Now I can easily sleep 8 hours or more. I have dreams every night (I never dreamed before) I no longer am sleepy during the day etc..

I would never drive a big truck with the conditions I used to have. I wouldn’t endanger the public or myself.

My question is: If I go to get a CDL physical is it going to show up on my medical records that I had this condition? Will the doctor performing the physical have access to the record? I don’t want to go to Joplin or North Little Rock and be turned away after all the preparations I have been making.

I have been planning on trucking for a decade now. I am 42 years old and I think that trucking would perfectly fit my aptitude. I have a good paying job now. It’s just not something that I can retire doing. I also think I would like the trucking lifestyle. If I quit my current job and fail at trucking I’m screwed as I’ll never find another good paying job with my amount of education.

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.

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.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

App, the changes you have made are great and you must have great willpower to do what you have accomplished.

As far as I know, you can't get away from the fact that you have had a sleep study. When you take your DOT physical, you have to complete a detailed questionnaire. One of the questions will be: "Have you ever had a sleep study or been diagnosed with sleep apnea?" You HAVE to tell the truth!! (Very important) Then when you go into company training, they will ask you the same question, although they will already know the answer. Then they will ask you to take another sleep study to see where you are at now. They will pay for the cost of the study. If you keep up your healthy lifestyle, you may be cleared of the sleep apnea issue. If not, I believe most companies will buy your CPAP machine and take the cost out of your paycheck a little at a time.

This should in no way discourage you from pursuing your goal of driving. The trucking companies deal with this all the time and will get you in the driver's seat one way or another, especially with your great attitude and work ethic. Good luck!

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.

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.

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.

Appalachained's Comment
member avatar

App, the changes you have made are great and you must have great willpower to do what you have accomplished.

As far as I know, you can't get away from the fact that you have had a sleep study. When you take your DOT physical, complete a detailed questionnaire. One question will be: "Have you ever had a sleep study or been diagnosed with sleep apnea?" Tell the truth!! (Very important) Then when you go into company training, they will ask you the same question, although they will already know the answer. Then they will ask you to take another sleep study to see where you are at now. They will pay for the cost of the study. If you keep up your healthy lifestyle, it may clear you of the sleep apnea issue. If not, I believe most companies will buy your CPAP machine and take the cost out of your paycheck a little at a time.

This should in no way discourage you from pursuing your goal of driving. The trucking companies deal with this all the time and will get you in the driver's seat, especially with your great attitude and work ethic. Good luck!

That sounds almost too good to be true that a trucking company would pay for a CPAP machine and a sleep study. I guess I should ask the recruiter(s) I’ll talk to about it. I didn’t think about being asked about it if I don’t look like someone who would have it. I remember reading that Swift didn’t ask about it unless you were of a certain weight or had over a 16” neck in which case you would have to pay for the sleep study. Thanks for the reply.

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.

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.

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.

Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
member avatar

As was said, when you go for your DOT physical you will be filling out a detailed medical background. You will sign that you are being truthful. They can deny your medical certificate without another sleep study. Your best bet is to save enough money to get the sleep study and if needed get a CPAP and start recording your use. It is best to know you will pass before your first attempt. Good luck.

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.

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.

B_Dawg's Comment
member avatar

You can't legally purchase a cpap without a prescription. I'm not sure if it's the same for each state, but you need to know what your index number is. here in NJ, if your index is below 20 then they will accept a doctor's letter stating you don't need a mask. if it's above 20, then it doesn't matter what the doctor says you will be required to use a mask.

when you go for your DOT physical, you will need to present that doctor letter as well as the study results showing your index, and they may only issue you a 1 year card or less, depending on your test, but it shouldn't prevent you from being hired...although the company may request you take another physical.

good luck!

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Donna M.'s Comment
member avatar

When I went to prime I included that I had previously had a sleep study. 17 years ago, no medical records. They had me to take another study, no sleep apnea. Didn’t cost me anything!

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.

Robert D. (Raptor)'s Comment
member avatar

I came to Swift with my machine in hand. But I understand that not companies require the test. Saying that you still may be required by your state after a DOT physical. Just remember, DONOT LIE ON YOUR APPLICATION, DOT PHYSICAL OR TO THE RECRUITER. Your attitude is great so you should do well in this field. Before you jump ship, make sure you know from the recruiter everything that is required by the company you elect to drive for. I know at Swift they have urine and hair follicle testing. Also now that you have quit smoking, have a test to make sure that the years of smoking didn't damage your lungs. I smoked for 16 years, mostly non-filtered Camels or Lucky Strikes. They I quit for 28 years, and during a routine physical they found a spot on my left lung. Well, they did a Pet scan and found that I had lung cancer. I went had half my left lung removed and had to have Chemotherapy. But so far after almost 6 years the cancer has not returned. But I still have to have the C-Pap machine. Anyway I didn't mean to high-Jack your thread. Just trying to pay forward for what someone did for me when I went through this. Good luck

Raptor

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.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Prime had me do a sleep study and i was negative. It was $500 taken out of my check in weekly $50 payments. 2 years later they made me get another study and had me buy the machine. Another $500 plus $600 for the CPAP.

they were both taken in weekly payments. So no, not all companies pay for the tests, but they may loan you the money for it.

HOWEVER..... because you have already been diagnosed, normally they require 30 days data showing you are compliant.

At Prime you are not hired until you pass the CDL exam and have a CDL. At that point you are tested. If you come in knowing you should be using the machine but arent, they may not accept you.

You may have screwed yourself by getting diagnosed. Be sure to ask and be honest. Also if you can gather some money, they may have their own sleep people that may be discounted compared to where you went.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

Rainy, Schneider charged $1,600 for the machine. Payments deducted from the paycheck. I continue to believe the whole Sleep Apnea thing is a big scam between the trucking companies and the CPAC companies. Just my opinion.

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.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Rainy, Schneider charged $1,600 for the machine. Payments deducted from the paycheck. I continue to believe the whole Sleep Apnea thing is a big scam between the trucking companies and the CPAC companies. Just my opinion.

While the companies and Docs/CPAP suppliers may be in cahoots - the ailment itself is NOT a scam.

The main reason the BMI standard wasn't adopted by FMCSA - was the criteria was based on "voodoo science". And while BMI greater than 34 and neck size greater than 17", "could be" an indicator - statistically it is NOT, because just as many people that fall BELOW that standard and have OSA, as do people that are above that standard DO NOT. The docs and companies that were on the "FMCSA Study Committee", were all sleep docs and CPAP manufacturers - so they obviously had a "vested interest" in seeing OSA Standards adopted - as FORCING EVERYONE with a CDL to be tested would be a huge financial windfall for the industry. And the public backlash of this, is one of the reasons the rule wasn't adopted - even though DOT Docs are encouraged to look a little deeper at obese drivers for a number of health conditions that obesity brings (BP, Sugar and OSA).

Many trucking companies adopted those standards in anticipation of the rule becoming law - as many companies like to STAY AHEAD of the "compliance curve" - especially when it comes to rules that cost the company $$ (like AOBRD's and ELD's) so the can spread the expense out over time (instead of waiting for the last minute). Prime being one of them.

Now - do I think they are buying CPAPS in bulk and getting a discount on them? Sure, they're probably making a couple of $$'s on them - but they also sell them to drivers on an "interest free deduction plan". Do I think their "approved sleep center" is making $$ on testing, and perhaps even "sticking their thumbs on the scale" to make more positive diagnosis (and increase the sale of CPAP machines)? That's certainly a possibility, and many people think they are, as well as many people think the testing centers are "kicking back" to the trucking company - or the company may even be partners (silent or otherwise). This has yet to be factually proven.

But the FACT STILL REMAINS that OSA IS A REAL ILLNESS, that contributes to driver fatigue, quality of health/life, and can become a serious safety issue (as well as a serious health issue). I had related the story previously, of one of my oldest friends - who had it SO BAD that his heart was stopping, and he ended up having to get a pacemaker installed. When my weight was seriously out of control - I would wake up multiple times during the night (5 or 6), with the feeling I was choking - and my waking hours suffered from lack of decent sleep. It's effects can range from annoying to life threatening. And those that are diagnosed and get on CPAP regimens report huge improvements in sleep quality and overall health. As do those that deal with the PRIMARY RISK FACTOR for OSA - which is: morbid obesity. Even at 200lbs (5'5") - I am just over the BMI guidelines and considered obese. Even at 180 I would still be considered obese. "Normal BMI" for me - would be 150 lbs - and I haven't been that light since I quit smoking crack 31 years ago.

So - while you're still obviously miffed that your OSA/CPAP compliance is one of the main reasons you're off the road - to dismiss the illness as a SCAM, is kind of shortsighted - despite the fact that the trucking companies may in fact see "some financial benefit" in the deal.

Rick

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.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

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.

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.

Fm:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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