Monday, May 17, 2010

Trucking Leaders Discuss Road Safety and Sleep

Industry leaders are taking steps to reduce untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) among truck drivers, reported a recent article at eTrucker.com. These industry experts met at the Sleep Apnea & Trucking Conference last week in Baltimore, MD.

Mary Gunnels, director, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Medical Programs, acknowledged that sleep apnea among truckers is a public health concern.

A 2002 study found that almost a third of truck drivers suffer from OSA. This condition raises their risk for driving accidents.

Dr. William K. Sieber, National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, discussed the Institute’s goals to reduce obesity and cardiovascular disease among commercial drivers. Older age and excess weight are two common factors linked with OSA.

Dr. Lawrence Epstein, chairman, American Academy of Sleep Medicine Adult Obstructive Sleep Apnea Task Force, also spoke. He focused on OSA, its causes and treatments. Dr. Epstein said the most common treatments are CPAP and oral appliances.

Beyond safety concerns, there are financial benefits to ensuring driver health.

An article in Occupational Health and Safety reported on a new study that found that treating OSA can reduce health costs, work absences, and short-term disability.

In the study, when drivers with sleep apnea were treated, their health plan costs decreased by an average of $2,700 in the first year. The costs decreased by another $3,100 in the second year.

Read more about the study in this April blog post.

Image by Cromely

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.