Trucker is well rested with DOT CPAP Compliance

DOT CPAP Compliance And What You Need To Know

Many truck drivers are concerned about DOT CPAP compliance and what it means for their driving careers if they’re diagnosed with sleep apnea. Some fear losing their CDL, but the DOT isn’t trying to keep drivers off of the road. Instead, they recommend assessing your risk for sleep apnea to be tested and treated for this sleep disorder for the purpose of making the roads safer. 

While there isn’t a law for DOT physicals when it comes to sleep apnea, your medical examiner may assess your risk. If they determine that your condition interferes with DOT sleep apnea compliance, as in it interferes with your ability to drive, you will need to be cleared by your medical examiner to drive after taking the steps to get tested. However, why is sleep apnea such a risk?  

Why DOT CPAP Compliance Matters

Because sleep apnea is incredibly dangerous. It causes your breathing to suddenly stop during the night, either due to blockages or misfiring signals in your brain. As a result, your body becomes stressed and works to make start breathing again. As your chest contracts and your body fights for air, you don’t get properly rested with the oxygen your brain and other vital organs need.

Trucker consideres DOT CPAP Compliance to get his health back This leads to fatigue, which can be as dangerous as driving drunk. In fact, fatigue causes about 40% of accidents and may be responsible for 1,500 deaths. This is because fatigue causes delayed responses, irritability, mood swings, headaches, dizziness, impaired judgment, and more.

Sleep apnea happens in your sleep, so most truckers don’t even know they have it unless someone tells them that they sore like a freight train or if their partner films them sleeping.

Aside from snoring and fatigue other sleep apnea symptoms include:

  • Weight gain
  • High blood pressure
  • Confusion
  • Waking with a dry mouth or headache
  • Insomnia

When left untreated sleep apnea could lead to much more serious conditions including:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Heart Disease
  • Increased traffic accidents and more.

According to DOT CPAP compliance requirements, drivers should be disqualified or denied certification if they report excessive sleepiness while driving or experience a crash associated with falling asleep.

Other risk factors for sleep apnea that your medical examiner will screen for include:

  • A small or recessed jaw
  • Being 42 or older
  • Having a BMI greater than 28 kg
  • A neck size greater than 17” for men and 15.5” for women
  • Being post-menopausal

Man uses his CPAP for DOT CPAP Compliance If considered to be at risk for sleep apnea, after being tested you may need to adhere to DOT CPAP compliance by properly managing your condition. While sleep apnea can go away over time with healthy lifestyle changes to help you lose weight or via surgery, the most effective treatment involves the use of a continuous airway pressure device (CPAP).  

They work by supplying a constant flow of oxygen to hold your airways open while you sleep to provide the oxygen that your body needs. Many drivers find modern CPAPs easy to use and they even conveniently fit in their bunks.

After one week of using a CPAP with adequate pressure, if successfully treated with minimal compliance of 4 hours use per 70% of nights and no excessive sleepiness reported while driving you will be cleared.

Getting Tested Is Easy

You don’t have to go to a sleep clinic for an expensive overnight test anymore. You can have an at-home sleep apnea test that is approved for DOT CPAP compliance shipped directly to your home. Use the comfortable, easy-to-use device for one night and ship it back to have a qualified sleep physician analyze the results. If you test positive for sleep apnea you may be prescribed a CPAP machine and it may be covered by insurance.

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