FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lilly Loughner, (815) 773-9090 ext. 302 firstname.lastname@example.org
COMMERCIAL DRIVERS EXPERIENCE INCREASED RISK OF SLEEP APNEA, SCREENING RECOMMENDED (JOLIET, IL, December 18, 2007) With the holidays approaching, commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operators are facing increased risks that include busy holiday traffic and icy driving conditions. Such hazards can be exacerbated by the long hours drivers work both late at night and during early morning hours when most people are sound asleep, and when falling asleep at the wheel becomes a grave possibility. Not only are CMV drivers at risk for drowsy driving, but studies suggest they are more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) than the general population. It is estimated that nearly one in three commercial truck drivers suffer from some form of OSA, according to a study sponsored by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the American Trucking Associations. The FMCSA study states that the two major factors that put drivers at risk for sleep apnea are age and degree of obesity — if either factor increases, so does the prevalence of sleep apnea. This is significant, as there will be a 50 percent increase in older drivers over the next 20 years, according to population statistics from the FMCSA. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a common sleep disorder that has associated safety and health risks for people both on and off the road. Studies have shown that OSA causes a significant number of motor vehicle crashes and increases the risk for health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Before a CMV driver can be certified, they must undergo medical qualification examinations and must meet guidelines from the FMCSA for the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea. However, such guidelines are now considered outdated, as they are based on a 1991 report sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration. To offer an updated approach and to address past inconsistencies in the screening and management of OSA among CMV operators, a joint task force of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM), and the National Sleep Foundation issued recommendations, according to an ACCP press release in September of 2006. The recommendations reflect both scientific and clinical advances regarding the diagnosis and treatment of OSA, states the executive summary of the Task Force findings. The full recommendations were published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM) and “include a more thorough screening and evaluation process, modified criteria for returning to work after treatment, and provide follow-up and recertification recommendations,” according to the ACCP press release.
Recommendations for evaluating commercial drivers with possible or probable sleep apnea (as published in the September 2006 issue of JOEM) include but are not limited to: Diagnosis should be determined by a physician and confirmed by polysomnography First-line treatment for CMV drivers with OSA should be delivered by positive airway pressure (CPAP, Bilevel PAP) Average minimum CPAP use is 4 hours within a 24-hour period, but longer treatment would be more beneficial To help educate CMV operators about sleep apnea and their health, and the preferred diagnosis and treatment methods for OSA, Cardinal Sleep Disorder Centers of America is heading an outreach effort targeting trucking companies in the Chicagoland area. According to Dr. Robert Aronson, medical director at Cardinal Sleep Centers, the new Tri-society screening and management recommendations for sleep apnea in CMV operators reflect growing awareness of the public safety risks associated with this condition, and its particularly high prevalence in truckers. “In addition, recent research indicates that sleep apnea increases the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, work-related accidents and associated costs. Cardinal Sleep Centers is proud to provide seven sites for the convenient delivery of high quality Sleep Medicine services to the trucking profession,” said Dr. Aronson. To schedule a presentation on OSA at your company, given by a board-certified sleep physician, call the Community Relations Department at (815) 773-9090 ext. 300. Cardinal Sleep Centers has locations in Joliet, Bourbonnais, Orland Park, Ottawa, Peru, and St. Charles. For more information on OSA and other sleep disorders, or to schedule a sleep study, call toll free at (888) 740-5700 or visit the Web at www.cardinalsleep.com. ###