Sleep apnea – chronic desease of truck drivers, research results
A recent study found that even half of drivers could be at risk for obstructive sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder that causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start during sleep. When sleep is frequently interrupted throughout the night, it is more likely to be drowsy and unfocused the following day. Drivers with sleep apnea are at higher risk for car crashes and work-related accidents.
The 2020 study by researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) screened 20,000 drivers to determine sleep apnea potential. The drivers were then tested applying the STOP-Bang assessment: a screening tool that assesses snoring, tiredness, hypertension, body mass index, age, neck circumference, and gender to gauge their overall sleep apnea risk.
It was found that 9,382 drivers (46,9%) had obstructive sleep apnea “potential”.
According to the researches, some symptoms to look out for include:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Loud snoring
- Abrupt awakenings accompanied by gasping or choking
- Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Morning headache
- Difficulty concentrating during the day
- Experiencing mood changes, such as depression or irritability
- High blood pressure
- Nighttime sweating
- Decreased libido
Consult a medical doctor if you are experiencing the following:
- Snoring loud enough to disturb your sleep or that of others
- Waking up gasping or choking
- Intermittent pauses in your breathing during sleep
- Excessive daytime drowsiness, which may cause you to fall asleep while you’re working, watching television or even driving a vehicle
The trucking lifestyle makes drivers more apt to health concerns like sleep apnea. Limited exercise and a lack of access to healthy food at truck stops can lead to drivers becoming overweight and susceptible to serious conditions.
That’s why it is important for drivers to be aware of health risks and take daily measures to ensure they are promoting a healthy lifestyle.