Why It’s So Important for Truck Drivers to be Tested for Sleep Apnea

young truck driver yawning suffering from sleep apnea in Denver

Sleep apnea is a disorder that results in multiple stoppages in breathing while a person slumbers. It’s an issue that’s growing in prevalence, as over 22 million Americans now suffer from some form of the condition. The sleep interruptions associated with sleep apnea can lead to several issues, one of which is daytime lethargy. This can be especially dangerous for commercial truck drivers and the passengers who share the highway with them. As you continue reading, you’ll learn what some of the other warning signs of sleep apnea in Denver are and why it’s important to be tested and treated.

Common Signs of Sleep Apnea

The first step to combatting the effects of sleep apnea is to recognize the warning signs. In addition to exhaustion, someone with sleep apnea might also experience:

  • Mood swings
  • Inability to focus
  • Morning headaches
  • Bouts of depression
  • Morning throat soreness

At the first notice of any of the above symptoms, it’s important to bring it to a physician’s attention so a sleep test can be scheduled.

The Added Danger for Commercial Truck Drivers

The average truck driver’s load weighs several tons. That means that he or she has the responsibility to be even more careful and vigilant on the road than other drivers. While the government places restrictions on how many hours each operator can transport daily, he or she must still be highly alert within that window of time to prevent accidents. Untreated sleep apnea can pose a safety threat. According to a 2016 report by U.S. News, driving drowsy can be just as dangerous as driving drunk, contributing to an estimated 20% of vehicular fatalities.

Thus, if a truck driver recognizes any of the warning signs of the condition, getting tested and treated could possibly save several lives.

Sleep Testing Made Easy

The first step to getting tested is to take a sleep study pre-screening questionnaire that will be evaluated by a physician. If diagnosed with sleep apnea, the driver can then seek treatment from a local sleep dentist.

How Sleep Apnea Can be Treated

The most common form of treating sleep apnea is with a CPAP machine, which is designed to force air into the throat to prevent stoppages in breathing. However, some patients find it to be cumbersome, loud and uncomfortable. Thankfully, there’s an alternative: treatment with an oral sleep appliance. The small apparatus easily fits into the mouth and gently shifts the jaw forward to maintain normal airflow.

If you or a loved one is a truck driver who has demonstrated any of the above symptoms, then it’s imperative to follow through with sleep apnea testing in Denver. It will make the highways much safer and save lives.

About the Author

Consistently recognized by 5280 Magazine as one of Colorado’s Top Dentists, Dr. Gary Radz specializes in treating sleep apnea. As a person who has sleep apnea himself, he understands how the condition can affect one’s life. Thus, Dr. Radz has a level of empathy that is uncommon. A member of the Academy of Clinical Sleep Disorders Disciplines and the Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, he provides oral appliances and screenings to help his patients rest better at his private practice. Dr. Radz can be reached for more information through his website.

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