Is My Career Over Before It Starts?

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Andre R.'s Comment
member avatar

I just returned from a sleep study. I will say its the most miserable thing in the world next to my ex wife. at about 1230 they came in told me I met the criteria for a cpap. They placed it on and immediately I felt as if I couldn't breathe. I tried it 3 times before I said enough. I went back to sleep slept on my stomach like I normally do and no issues. The tech said that there were dental devices that worked for those who cannot wear a cpap. By not being able to wear the machine does this spell the end before I even get started?

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.
Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

The problem with "dental devices", unlike the CPAP - is that you cannot "verify COMPLIANCE".

CPAP machines used in trucking - log their use to an memory card, that is uploaded to the company, to demonstrate the MANDATORY USAGE of the device. If you can't "verify compliance"- they won't let you drive.

CPAP face masks can be very claustrophobic. I have friends that use them, and they take some getting used to.

I'm going under the assumption (not accusation) that you are OVERWEIGHT and/or have a 17" neck? You can go on a DIET AND LOSE WEIGHT - if that's what triggered the sleep study in the first place. Consider the possibility that your WEIGHT (if this is the issue) is what's causing your apnea. Not to say that skinny people haven't been diagnosed with OSA - but FAT PEOPLE are what trigger sleep studies at trucking company physicals.

I'm 5'5". When I was 300 lbs - I was on BP, Cholesterol and Oral Diabetes meds (A1C of 6.5, headed for the needle), woke up 6-7 times a night. Went on a strict diet - lost 120 lbs in 7 months. All blood work normal, off all meds, sleep like a rock. That was like 4 years ago.

I'm (re)considering trying to get into trucking (got my CDL 6 yeas ago - never pursued for reasons other than my weight) - but I got back up to 245 - which WILL TRIGGER a sleep study at companies that look for these - based on BMI alone (in my case). My own foolishness - after working SO HARD to get the weight off in the first place.

At any rate - I'm back on the diet I lost all the weight from the first time (MediFast). I drop 50 lbs and I'm under the threshold that would trigger a sleep study.

I'd also consider a 2nd opinion (that is, if you have health insurance and can afford another, independent study). Another user here had documented difficulty getting a DOT Med Card from a company clinic - even though his OWN SLEEP STUDY showed that he didn't meet the criteria for a CPAP machine.

I'm not going to call it a SCAM - but there is BIG $$ in sleep studies and CPAP Machines. Not going to say that the clinics and trucking companies are IN COLLUSION - but there's BIG $$ in sleep studies and CPAP machines (which the company will glad let you pay for BOTH "over time", by laying out the $$ for you).

Sorry for the lengthy post.

But - in a nutshell - if a company-sponsored sleep study, finds that you need a CPAP machine - and you can't deal with one - you will NOT GET A MEDICAL CARD from that company, or pass their physical - THEY WILL NOT HIRE YOU.

This doesn't mean your career is "necessarily over".

You can try and find another company that doesn't have a BMI requirement - and hope the current one doesn't file a DAC on you, saying you failed the physical for sleep apnea.

If OBESITY is what triggered the sleep study - you can LOSE SOME WEIGHT - though this takes time and real commitment (believe me, I HATE this diet - ALL DIETS for that matter - but the one I'm on WORKS).

You can try and get adjusted to the CPAP machine. There are a number of "less claustrophobic options" in the form of the mask you wear.

And the reality is, if you are ACTUALLY SUFFERING from severe OSA - left untreated it can be life-threatening (at worst), and quality of life destructive - as you are NOT GETTING RESTFUL SLEEP. Walking around exhausted all the time can be miserable. DRIVING A RIG exhausted all the time is a PUBLIC SAFETY HAZARD.

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.

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.

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.

SQ TierHog's Comment
member avatar

Rick, thanks for the insight! I'm 6 foot 1 inches, about 230 pounds. while my blood pressure is usually 130's/80's, my regular medical doctor has never recommended high blood pressure meds so I have never been on them. I don't know if my height and weight ratio would be a disqualifier, but these are things I am concerned about when it comes to the DOT physical, or a company physical for that matter. Again, thanks for taking the time to reply to this gentleman's post. I'll be searching this website for information on the physicals. G'LUCK Andre!

SQ TierHog

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.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

At 6'1"/230 - your BI is 30.3. Under the threshold that companies use - even though that BMI is considered to be on the "threshold of obesity".

BMI Categories: Underweight = <18.5 Normal weight = 18.5–24.9 Overweight = 25–29.9 Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

Trucking companies use from 34-39 to flag people for sleep studies. 130/80 BP is also well in specs for physicals and DOT medical cards.

Rick

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.

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.

SQ TierHog's Comment
member avatar

At 6'1"/230 - your BI is 30.3. Under the threshold that companies use - even though that BMI is considered to be on the "threshold of obesity".

BMI Categories: Underweight = <18.5 Normal weight = 18.5–24.9 Overweight = 25–29.9 Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

Trucking companies use from 34-39 to flag people for sleep studies. 130/80 BP is also well in specs for physicals and DOT medical cards.

Rick

Rick, Thank you Sir, for your reply. I appreciate you taking the time and sharing some stats! I have planned on losing 10 to 20 lbs or so, just to be healthier, plus the benefit of dropping the blood pressure, as well. Also, the BMI you mentioned would be a little less of a red flag too. Thank you!

SQ TierHog

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.

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.

Jay R. R2-Detour 's Comment
member avatar

If you need a cpap machine, do you have to supply your own? I don't have one now, but of I get flagged for a sleep study who knows....

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.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

If you need a cpap machine, do you have to supply your own? I don't have one now, but of I get flagged for a sleep study who knows....

Usually - the company will "sell you one", and arrange for you to pay it off with "payroll deductions".

L - oh - L.

You are also free to purchase your own machine - but it MUST HAVE THE CAPABILITY OF LOGGING USAGE. And you'd better use it as required - or - buh bye.

Rick

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.

Jay R. R2-Detour 's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

If you need a cpap machine, do you have to supply your own? I don't have one now, but of I get flagged for a sleep study who knows....

double-quotes-end.png

Usually - the company will "sell you one", and arrange for you to pay it off with "payroll deductions".

L - oh - L.

You are also free to purchase your own machine - but it MUST HAVE THE CAPABILITY OF LOGGING USAGE. And you'd better use it as required - or - buh bye.

Rick

Well the company I'm most hopeful for getting on with has APU in some trucks, hopefully they have that option if I need one. I see a strick diet of salads when I'm driving. Walking a few laps around a truck stop would probably be wise too. I just can't wait to get started again.

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.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Jared McClure's Comment
member avatar

I just returned from a sleep study. I will say its the most miserable thing in the world next to my ex wife. at about 1230 they came in told me I met the criteria for a cpap. They placed it on and immediately I felt as if I couldn't breathe. I tried it 3 times before I said enough. I went back to sleep slept on my stomach like I normally do and no issues. The tech said that there were dental devices that worked for those who cannot wear a cpap. By not being able to wear the machine does this spell the end before I even get started?

I'm assuming when you felt like you couldn't breathe, that you had difficulty with exhaling.. In that case, you need to try a CPAP machine with a "C-Flex" or "A-Flex" option that will decrease the pressure during exhalations, which makes breathing with a CPAP mask on much easier for some people.

I have planned on losing 10 to 20 lbs or so, just to be healthier, plus the benefit of dropping the blood pressure, as well.

Having sleep apnea is no joking matter: it is certainly contributing to your high blood pressure and possibly to your weight issues as well, because it can lower your metabolism. Sleep Apnea and Related Health Conditions

If you truly have sleep apnea, you need to get treatment for it regardless of whether or not you wish to get into the trucking industry.

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.
Jeff L.'s Comment
member avatar

I can understand the weight issue along with the high blood pressure. 11/14/2014 I was out of work and going into the holidays weighing 195 pounds. I broke my normal eating habits and started eating sugar and taking in more carbs than I normally would. Did not exercise like I normally would and did not keep my jogging up. I had a blood pressure then of 117/74 to pre- hypertension depending on what day it was and whether I ran or not. Stress etc. When I went for my DOT physical(week ago) it was 144/94 on the first go, luck had she let me do it three times in which the third a little zen did the trick to sneak by to barely get a two year card instead of a year. I am eating to remove the stomach fat that causes the biggest concern (Kidney fat etc.). I am barely getting 3.1 mile in, just today I did it without pain and have lost four pounds already putting me at 221. I had gained 30 pounds just that fast. I am eating a strict diet to boost my metabolism and taking supplements known to help reduce HBP. I knew better and now have to reverse this. It does not take much to get out of shape , while it does take some effort to get it back.

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.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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