truck on highway

Why Truckers Should Consider a CPAP Machine

Even under the best of conditions, short and long-haul truck drivers must battle fatigue, stress and long hours. This is to avoid diminished mental and physical response time that could lead to costly mistakes and accidents. State trucking associations already dictate standards for blood pressure, diabetes, vision, and other health factors. However, they also have increased emphasis on the high incidence of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) among drivers. Many trucking companies and corporations with truck fleets have introduced OSA screening for high-risk individuals. They also suggest CPAP machines for truckers.

Why CPAP Machines for Truckers

According to a University of Pennsylvania study conducted in 2002, 28% of commercial truck drivers have sleep apnea.

OSA occurs when the airway becomes severely limited or completely blocked during sleep. These episodes can last ten seconds or longer, and occur hundreds of times a night. This increases daytime sleepiness while raising blood pressure and eventually leading to a host of serious health issues.  Dreamstation Go, Transcend and AirMini Travel CPAP Machines are popular choices of CPAP machines for truck drivers.

Top CPAPS include AirMini, DreamStation Go, Z1 Auto, Transcend

When truckers are diagnosed with OSA, an increasing number of companies are making Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy (CPAP) a mandatory treatment. CPAP therapy uses CPAP masks and machines for drivers with sleep apnea. It is a non-invasive treatment where pressurized air is delivered by a device, a CPAP machine, to the patient’s airway via a mask. The mask that fits over the nose or the nose and mouth. The pressurized air keeps the patient’s airway open. This reduces or eliminates the apnea and hypopnea events and gives the patient a more restful sleep.

A study released in September 2012 at the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress in Vienna compared two groups of sleep apnea patients. The groups were those who drove commercial vehicles and those who did not. Members of both groups were similar in age, weight, and the frequency of sleep disturbances per night.

To sum up the findings of the study, drivers consistently reported being less sleepy and more alert than non-drivers, although both groups were in therapy with CPAP machines and had a similar number of sleep disturbances. On a sleepiness scale, drivers had an average reported score of 8.1, compared with 11.0 in the non-drivers group. After six months of CPAP therapy, both sets of numbers improved, but drivers still reported less sleepiness: 4.8 vs. 7.7.

Interestingly, the study’s authors believe that the drivers may have reported lower scores. That's because they thought higher scores could jeopardize their jobs.

For truckers, cab drivers, bus drivers, and pilots who suffer from sleep apnea and are currently in therapy, The CPAP Shop recommends a travel CPAP machine.

Studies show that the use of a CPAP mask and machine can reduce work-related problems. A well-enforced compliance program can generate a return on investment in the form of savings on medical costs, accident reduction, reduced turnover, and increased productivity.

Truck driving at night

A number of trucking companies are recommending and/or utilizing travel CPAP machines for truckers, especially with long haul truck drivers who have tested positive for Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Leading companies such as Respironics and ResMed have worked aggressively to create what is considered among the most effective and technologically advanced travel CPAP machines currently available. They also offer heated humidification with their travel machines. This is to increase compliance and comfort and reduce nose and throat congestion and dryness.

Travel CPAP Machines for Truckers

Travel CPAP Machines also feature extremely quiet motors and simple operation interfaces. These are features that everyone including truckers find highly desirable. Currently, an increasing number of trucking companies are mandating compulsory treatment. Trucking organizations are recommending treatment benchmarks to continue driving. The data monitoring/recording capability and Sleep Quality Indicator of travel CPAP machines makes it easier for medical professionals to monitor compliance usage and apnea event reductions during sleep. Consequently drivers with OSA can get the rest that they need and stay on the road.

Schneider National, one of the country’s largest trucking companies, instituted a sleep apnea screening and treatment program several years ago and partnered with ResMed Corporation. With the use of their CPAP machines and masks, the program resulted in a 73 percent reduction in preventable driving accidents among a group of 225 drivers diagnosed with Sleep Disorder Breathing (SDB).

In addition to the accident reduction, its attendant cost savings and increased worker productivity, the move cut medical treatment costs in half. Schneider National's sleep apnea initiative has saved the company $538 per driver each month in health care savings. It also yielded a 55 percent greater retention rate among participating drivers. Additionally, Schneider's annual health care claims cost increase has remained lower than industry norms.

With truck drivers being a vital link for moving the nation’s goods as well as being a major factor on its highways, truck drivers with OSA must have effective CPAP therapy with the most technologically advanced CPAP machines. Travel CPAP Machines for truckers are among the best non-invasive sleep apnea therapies to help ensure better sleep. This results in alert and healthier drivers on the roads.

Chris Vasta is the president of The CPAP Shop and an expert in sleep and respiratory therapy. He often provides insights on product design and functionality on various manufacturers’ prototypes.

Chris Vasta

Chris Vasta is the president of The CPAP Shop and an expert in sleep and respiratory therapy. He often provides insights on product design and functionality on various manufacturers’ prototypes and is frequently tapped to provide reviews on new releases.