Sleep Apnea Test

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Catherine G.'s Comment
member avatar

I went for a DOT physical to start a new job and was told I have to take a sleep apnea test because of my BMI (essentially overweight). I have no insurance and they are extremely expensive. There are a couple at home tests that you can buy online that are advertised as DOT approved. Does anyone have experience with these?

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I went for a DOT physical to start a new job and was told I have to take a sleep apnea test because of my BMI (essentially overweight). I have no insurance and they are extremely expensive. There are a couple at home tests that you can buy online that are advertised as DOT approved. Does anyone have experience with these?

Welcome aboard Catherine. I personally don't have any experience with the home testing kits but it's possible one of our members have so we'll see if anyone pops in with experience.

But I can say this....whoever is saying you have to take a sleep apnea test is the one who will have to approve the testing procedures. Normally they'll give you a list of doctors or some sort of indication of what type of testing they'll accept. So verify with the school or the employer whether or not they'll accept any of the home tests.

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.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

As I'm sure you know, just because its advertised as DOT approved doesn't guarantee it.

So before you do any of these cheap home remedies, I would consult the clinic that you attended for the DOT Physical you took. I would also call the companies that you're interested in and speak with a recruiter about it. What worries me is that you could potentially take these cheaper tests and then when you actually go to orientation you'll be told that the company does not approve the test that you took.

Also consider this, most of the large carriers require their students to take a DOT Physical in a nearby clinic. And obviously, they run into the problem of students needing sleep apnea tests. Often times they'll pay for it and deduct small payments out of your paychecks. So you might want to consider taking the sleep apnea test when you're trying out with a company.

My friend who joined the same company that I work for took the DOT Physical. He had to take the sleep apnea test at our main terminal. It cost him 600$ to take the test. He ended up failing the test and had to pay around $2,500 for the CPAP machine. But thankfully our company is taking out small payments for all those fees he had to pay so it didn't exactly break his bank.

Good luck.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Is this test something all companies do? The reason I ask is because I was asked some questions regarding my sleeping habits while getting the DOT physical that I figured were sleep apnea related, but I didn't have to go take any test. Maybe it's because I've lost 70 lbs in the last year? I'm still a big fella at 295, 5'8", but not nearly as big as I used to be.

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.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Is this test something all companies do? The reason I ask is because I was asked some questions regarding my sleeping habits while getting the DOT physical that I figured were sleep apnea related, but I didn't have to go take any test. Maybe it's because I've lost 70 lbs in the last year? I'm still a big fella at 295, 5'8", but not nearly as big as I used to be.

Yes. Sleep apnea is a very big deal. It doesn't allow you to sleep peacefully so you don't wake up refreshed as you normally should. The physical is a DOT physical, which means companies hardly have any say in it.

Those questions you were being asked pertaining your sleeping habits was basically them trying to figure out if you have a chance of having sleep apnea.

Now, I'm not saying this in a bad way - so please don't take it as anything but information. But the truth is that they do target people with weight because they have a much higher chance of having sleep apnea.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Well, I guess the doctor didn't think I have it. She didn't say anything about scheduling the test. She asked me if I had problems staying awake during the day, if I snore loudly, do I ever wake up for no apparent reason, that sort of thing. I was honest with her and told her that I used to wake up a couple of times a night back when I weighed 360lbs, and that I used to take short naps during the day, but I hadn't had any of that happen for a good long while now. That was one of the things I noticed that had changed right around the time when I had lost 35-40 lbs. I sleep good now. The only thing that I wake up for is if I have to go pee, and that only happens occasionally if I drink too much tea. So, you're saying that because I am a chunky fella, that I will probly have to get one of these tests done when I get to MO for orientation?

Rico's Comment
member avatar

Well, I just sent an email to my recruiter asking what Con-Way's policy is on overweight drivers. I've done some checking, and even $400 for the test is a lot to dish out to prove I don't have something just because I am overweight. I have to be honest about it though. It kinda ****es me off a little bit that companies target overweight people to make them take this test. I understand that OSA can cause a driver problems, but sending people home to have to pay hundreds of dollars for a test based solely on them being overweight is unfair. I could see if someone is overweight AND showing other symptoms of OSA, but if no other symptoms are present there's no reason to make someone get tested. I am interested in what my recruiter will tell me.

Thank you to the original poster for starting this thread. This sleep apnea thing is something I didn't know was a problem in the trucking industry. At this point I am wondering about what other things are commonplace among trucking companies that I don't know about. All I know is that I have been completely honest with the recruiter and answered all her questions. I hope this doesn't turn into one of those situations where I make it to orientation and get booted because of something the recruiter didn't cover.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Well, I just sent an email to my recruiter asking what Con-Way's policy is on overweight drivers. I've done some checking, and even $400 for the test is a lot to dish out to prove I don't have something just because I am overweight. I have to be honest about it though. It kinda ****es me off a little bit that companies target overweight people to make them take this test. I understand that OSA can cause a driver problems, but sending people home to have to pay hundreds of dollars for a test based solely on them being overweight is unfair. I could see if someone is overweight AND showing other symptoms of OSA, but if no other symptoms are present there's no reason to make someone get tested. I am interested in what my recruiter will tell me.

Thank you to the original poster for starting this thread. This sleep apnea thing is something I didn't know was a problem in the trucking industry. At this point I am wondering about what other things are commonplace among trucking companies that I don't know about. All I know is that I have been completely honest with the recruiter and answered all her questions. I hope this doesn't turn into one of those situations where I make it to orientation and get booted because of something the recruiter didn't cover.

Rico, yes it is unfortunate for the student. But the company doesn't want drivers who aren't getting a proper nights rest driving an 80,000lb monster.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rico's Comment
member avatar

If they want to have me tested at their expense, I'm fine with it. It's having to pay for it out of my own pocket that I don't agree with. Again, I am not sure what my recruiter will tell me about Con-Way's policy, so this may be much ado about nothing. You'd think that if this is something Con-Way does, then the recruiters would make sure to mention it so there are no surprises in the middle of getting a career started. They expect us to be completely honest with them, so they should be completely honest with us.

Catherine G.'s Comment
member avatar

I have an appointment to see my primary care Dr in 2 weeks. They're not familiar with home testing. I called the DOT doctor's office and they've never heard of home testing and will only accept a sleep clinic assessment which is out of the question.

I'm still waiting to hear from the company that hired me but it looks like I'm going to be out of a job.

I wish I knew about this before I went to CDL school.

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.

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.

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