Question Regarding Sleep Apnea

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Interested I.'s Comment
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Hey all!

I’ve kind of hit a low point in my life and I’ve always been interested in trucking since my parents were truckers. I’m 26 now and I want to start in this career but back in 2017 I was diagnosed with sleep apnea. Although I tried using a CPAP machine it never really worked and since then I’ve lived a really normal life without it.

In my current job I drive a personal vehicle all day (anywhere from 6-12 hours a day) and have had no issues with alertness, haven’t had an accident or even a ticket.

When I took the Sleep Apnea test my insurance wouldn’t pay for a sleep study (they said I was too young) but the doctor pressured them into having me do a home sleep study. I got the impression from this doctor that he was more interested in money than anything.

Anyways, I want to try and get my physical done sometime next month but I’m wondering what I should tell the doctor. Should I tell him I was diagnosed but It doesn’t affect my life? Should I say I was never tested? Should I say I was tested but the results were negative/inconclusive?

Like I said I’ve been driving for a while now with no incidents and if I weren’t confident in my ability to drive I wouldn’t do it. Any helpful advice is appreciated.

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.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

We have a bunch of information about sleep apnea you can take a look at. Touch on the three bar menu on the top left of this screen. A menu pops down. Toward the bottom there's Trucking Wiki. Touch the little ">" to the right, the whole Wiki menu drops down. They you will find the entry for Sleep Apnea For Truck Drivers - The Complete Guide. The list is alphabetical so you shouldn't have to really hunt for it.

As for your comment "I tried using a CPAP machine it never really worked, it'll have to work. Modern CPAP machines automatically record and report their activity, and if you have been diagnosed, you'll need a report of the last 30 days for your medical. I've had a CPAP machine for over two years. There's things the pressurized breathing does that I could say makes me feel better physically than I should be. But it's your responsibility to keep using one for a trucking job if you're supposed to.

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.

Interested I.'s Comment
member avatar

We have a bunch of information about sleep apnea you can take a look at. Touch on the three bar menu on the top left of this screen. A menu pops down. Toward the bottom there's Trucking Wiki. Touch the little ">" to the right, the whole Wiki menu drops down. They you will find the entry for Sleep Apnea For Truck Drivers - The Complete Guide. The list is alphabetical so you shouldn't have to really hunt for it.

As for your comment "I tried using a CPAP machine it never really worked, it'll have to work. Modern CPAP machines automatically record and report their activity, and if you have been diagnosed, you'll need a report of the last 30 days for your medical. I've had a CPAP machine for over two years. There's things the pressurized breathing does that I could say makes me feel better physically than I should be. But it's your responsibility to keep using one for a trucking job if you're supposed to.

Thanks for the Info! I haven’t used a CPAP machine in years and have been fine. Do you think this will be an issue?

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.

Robert D. (Raptor)'s Comment
member avatar

If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea , it will be recorded at DMV. Mine was. There are many machines out there and many masks. The one I use is the 2 pillow style that go into the nose only with a strap that is very comfortable. I'll continue this after eating.

Raptor

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

You will need to answer truthfully on the paperwork for your medical card. You have been diagnosed with sleep apnea even though you aren't treating it. If you dont want to use a CPAP you need to have another sleep study done that shows you no longer have it. For your medical card you're required to show a minimum of 4 hours a day, 70% of the time (21 days) of the past 30 days. When I had my pre employment physical a year ago I only had 7 days of usage because I'd just gotten the machine. They could have issued me a 1 time 90 day card to be compliant with CPAP usage but told me send them the results when I have the 30 days and they'd issue a 1 year card. They also called the company to let them know what's going on and that I passed but we're waiting a couple weeks to avoid needing to pay to have another physical done.

One of our members, Kearsey, has said that she sleeps worse using a CPAP. I don't know if that's still the case but if you have sleep apnea and want a career in trucking you need to use the machine. I highly reccomend you DO NOT lie on the federal form.

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.

Papa Pig's Comment
member avatar

Is 30 days usage federal or does that depend state to state. I will be good with the 30 day requirement but if they require 60 or 90 I will be S.O.L for awhile.

Mr. Curmudgeon's Comment
member avatar

I have been using a CPAP unit for probably 15 years. You may think you're getting along fine, but i suspect until you actually have a sleep study, where you're in the room wired up with the full electroencephalogram and brain scan stuff, you won't know. I didn't realize how bad I was sleeping until I got the CPAP and really started sleeping. When your brain does not get into REM sleep, you wind up convincing yourself that everything is okay. Yes, I know I'm no physician, but having transition into CPAP 15 years ago, I can speak with quite a bit of positive experience.

I am a regional OTR driver, have a CPAP unit that I keep in my tractor. I have a mask and headgear that covers only my nose, not my mouth, and I sleep fine with it. It took me about one night to get used to sleeping with it.

One suggestion I would make, just be sure to get a CPAP that has the ability to humidify the Air Stream. If you blow just the air, it's going to dry out your nasal and sinus passages, and you will be likely quite uncomfortable.

If you fit the physical profile for possible sleep apnea , overweight, no neck, extremely large neck size, snoring, smoker, Etc, a prospective employer may require a sleep study anyway. It's on your history, you don't want to get hired, and have it come up that you were diagnosed and didn't disclose it.

That would be problematic for not only People that hired you, but potentially future employments as well.

Good luckl.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

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.

Robert D. (Raptor)'s Comment
member avatar

Ok sorry last minute stuff for the grandkids. Anyway, use the humidifier that is in your sleep apnea machine. It took one night to get used to it. The pillows that I use are very comfortable. Now federal law says mandatory 4 hours. I tell it is not enough. You must use it for your whole time your sleeping. When you wake you're refreshed. My mentor when I was in TNT training only used his for the mandatory 4 hours. He set his alarm for that amount of time. And would wake up later tired and cranky. What is with men and their macho stuff that they can get along without medical care. Anyway, DO NOT LIE ON YOUR FEDERAL MEDICAL FORM. PERIOD!

RAPTOR

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.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Yeah, what Raptor said. I sleep with the "mask" on all night. I do wake up refreshed. The higher pressure is kind of like hyperbaric therapy. It does improve your breathing and you're blood circulation.

Yes, I've heard of people who use the CPAP for only the minimum time. That's a waste of time in itself.

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.

Mr. Curmudgeon's Comment
member avatar

I see my pulmonary People annually, about three weeks before my ZDOT physical is due. We have a conversation about my usage percentage, how many hours of sleep I'm getting every night, and whether I'm still feeling refreshed. I have had to have my pressure increased twice in the years that I've been using it, usually because I start to feel a little draggy when doing mundane tasks or late in the day. The conversation with my doctor is, believe it or not, one that I look forward to. If I were only showing 4 hours of CPAP use per day, I suspect that my physician would comment in the letter that goes to the dot examiner that I was meeting the minimum required usage. Big picture, if you only show 4 hours of CPAP use per day, and something bad happens to your tractor beyond your control, the vrdolyak law group, or the truck accident Hammer guy, are going to draw inferences that you don't get enough sleep, and you are a rogue missile Waitin For a place to land And go to sleep.

While it may seem to be simply checking a box for the heavy-handed and over-reaching government, CPAP will save your life. Strokes, heart disease, and a whole plethora of other nasty things like depression, are linked to lack of REM sleep. I know that I stopped having nightmares shortly after starting CPAP.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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