drivers who donít stick to their sleep apnea treatments have
a five times greater risk of serious, preventable crashes.
Thatís according to a new study from the University of
Minnesota Morris published in the journal Sleep.
sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which
breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. The
condition is associated with many health issues, including
daytime sleepiness. Study authors estimate that up to 20
percent of large truck crashes are due to drowsiness behind
the wheel. They say commercial truck drivers should be
screened regularly for sleep apnea, and, if they have it, they
should be required to treat it to continue driving.
Clayton Cowl, chair of Preventive, Occupational and Aerospace
Medicine at Mayo Clinic, published an earlier study that found
sleep apnea to be a serious issue for commercial drivers.
new study confirms what we already know: that the health of
truck drivers impacts safety. By nature of their profession,
many truckers live a sedentary lifestyle, which produces a
downstream effect," says Cowl. "They are at risk of
developing obstructive sleep apnea, high blood pressure,
diabetes, congestive heart failure and pulmonary hypertension.
Health care providers should be aware of this when commercial
truckers go in for exams to make sure the drivers are properly
screened and treated. Then weíll see a decrease of accidents
on the road."
believes all drivers ó not just truckers ó should take
steps to stay safe and alert on the roads. And, if they have
OSA or other health issues that impact safety, they should see
their health care provider to address them.