Last September, a New Jersey train slammed into a station, killing a woman. The train’s engineer suffered from undiagnosed sleep apnea. This tragic incident illustrates why sleep disorders are so dangerous. While no one should ever get behind the wheel when they’re extremely tired, that is especially true for truck drivers and train engineers, whose jobs require a high level of awareness. Sometimes, being drowsy on the job is related to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). That is why we recommend that truck drivers and train engineers undergo sleep testing in Wesley Chapel.
The Dangers of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
OSA may cause extreme tiredness in its victims. This can slow down their reflexes and make it more difficult for them to pay attention to their surroundings. It can also lead to unexpected episodes of sleep. Even a second or two of shuteye during a dangerous situation can lead to disaster.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration recognize these dangers. In 2016, they published a rule that required truck drivers and train engineers to undergo sleep apnea testing. However, they later withdrew the proposed rule. Now, it is up to individual railroads and trucking companies to decide whether they’re employees need to be tested for OSA.
Testing Isn’t Required — Does That Mean You Should Skip It?
If you work in any profession that requires you to operate dangerous machinery, it would be the responsible thing to do to get tested for OSA. You would be protecting yourself and those around you. Getting tested is especially important if you’re experiencing any symptoms of OSA, such as loud snoring, excessive drowsiness, mood swings, headaches, and a lack of concentration.
The test is fairly simple. Your physician will likely refer you to a sleep lab, where machines will monitor you for a night. The results should plainly show whether you’re suffering from OSA.
If You Test Positive for OSA, Is Your Job in Danger?
You don’t have to hold back from getting tested out of fear you’ll lose your job. You can receive sleep apnea treatment in Wesley Chapel that may even enhance your performance at work. Plus, you’ll feel better all around.
CPAP is a common way to address OSA, but this machine doesn’t work for everybody. It’s especially inconvenient for long haul truck drivers, who often spend several nights away from home at a time.
A small, portable, oral device is better option for folks who do a lot of traveling. At Nelson Dentistry and Dental Sleep Medicine, Dr. Nelson and his team can fit you with a custom oral device that will gently reposition your jaw and/or tongue while you sleep, effectively stopping your own body from obstructing your airways and interfering with your time in dreamland.
You don’t have to let OSA interfere with your job and your quality of life. Why not get tested as soon as possible?
About the Author
Dr. Jay Nelson is a dentist who specializes in dental sleep medicine. He is trained to help patients reclaim their lives and fight sleep apnea with high-quality oral devices. If you’re looking for a solution to your sleep apnea, contact our office at 813-949-0424.