Truck drivers are the heartbeat of America. They make sure that the vital goods needed to maintain a normal way of life are transported over the many highways that line the country. As a safety precaution, the government sets limits on how long drivers can operate each day (usually 10 hours), but there still remains another obstacle that can place the operators and other drivers at risk: sleep apnea. People who suffer from the condition experience frequent bouts of sleep interruptions throughout the night because of stoppages in breathing. If you’re a truck driver who snores loudly or feels drowsy during the day, you could be dealing with sleep apnea in Lutz. Keep reading to learn what the usual symptoms are and why it’s so important to be tested.
Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea
The first step to being tested and treated for sleep apnea is to recognize the typical indicators. Here are some of the warning signs to be on the lookout for:
- Mood swings
- Inability to focus
- Daytime lethargy
- Morning headaches
- Bouts of depression
- Morning throat soreness
If you’ve noticed any of these issues, you shouldn’t wait another moment to contact your primary care physician so you can be tested.
The Danger of Ignoring the Symptoms
Because you’re operating such a large vehicle and carrying massive loads, driving a truck without being fully responsive places you and other drivers at danger. After all, it only takes a split second for an accident to occur. So, it’s even more imperative to take a sleep test. Thankfully, it’s not a complicated process, and it won’t take much of your time.
Sleep Testing Made Easy
The first step is to take what is called a STOP-BANG assessment. It only requires you to answer eight simple questions. A sleep dentist will then review you results and, if you show signs of sleep apnea, will make recommendations about the best treatment protocol.
Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea
Commonly, sleep apnea is treated with a CPAP machine, which is a mask that forces air into your throat while you sleep to prevent any breath loss. This method can be challenging for some patients because of its size, the sound it emits and the difficulty transporting it.
Thankfully, there is another way to treat the condition: with an oral sleep appliance. A sleep dentist will custom design the apparatus to fit comfortably in your mouth and shift your jaw forward while you sleep to keep your airway open.
You can learn more about your options after you take care of the first step, though: to undergo sleep apnea testing in Lutz. Not only will you be doing yourself a great service, but the other drivers on the road as well.
About the Author
Dr. Jay A. Nelson is a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine, American Sleep and Breathing Academy and American Board of Craniofacial Dental Sleep Medicine. Additionally, he has earned certification to use Somnodent and other oral appliances to treat sleep apnea. Dr. Nelson helps his patients get the rest they need at Nelson Dentistry and Dental Sleep Medicine, and he can be reached for more information through his website.