Even though a number of truckers use CPAP machines in order to manage their sleep apnea, many do not even know they have a sleeping disorder at all. When left untreated sleep apnea contributes to major health issues such as diabetes, heart failure, depression, stroke, irritability, excessive sleepiness, and fatigue.
In the trucking industry, fatigue can greatly hamper the ability to perform. In fact, about 40% of all semi-truck accidents are caused by fatigue, which can easily be treated with the use of a CPAP device. To help this major number decline, many carriers are requiring drivers to be screened for sleep apnea and if needed, require the use of a mobile CPAP machine for treatment.
However, CPAPs have a bad reputation even though they can add years to patient’s lives. They are seen as noisy and uncomfortable, even though they allow truckers to lead happier and healthier lives. To prove that CPAP machines are actually great, we asked an OTR trucker all about how he uses his.
Truckers Use CPAP Machines For The Best Sleep
Hunter is a 49-year-old OTR trucker who has been driving for 28 years. He is quite the road veteran who was diagnosed with sleep apnea three years ago and says his CPAP device improves his quality of life.
Hunter uses a full face mask BiPAP machine, which is a type of PAP device. A CPAP is a continuous positive airway pressure device, while a BiPAP is a bilevel positive airway pressure device.
Both machines are incredibly similar, but a CPAP machines deliver a single pressure while a BiPAP delivers a two-level positive airway pressure during the act of inhaling and exhaling. The type of PAP prescribed depends on your sleep apnea severity and individual lifestyle.
Now getting back to Hunter’s interview, he said his PAP makes him feel better and even drive better. On top of that, it’s easy to use. He ranked it as a “4/10”, 10 being the most difficult level.
Hunter does not have to carry a lot of extra supplies in his rig. All he takes is one gallon of distilled water, an extra hose, and an extra mask. When it comes to maintaining and cleaning his supplies, his BiPAP does seem to get dirty on the road a little faster than usual
But that’s no problem. Hunter easily changes the filter twice a week and uses disinfectant wipes on his mask once a week. He also bleaches out the water container and receives regular replacements for his mask, hose, water container, and air intake filter.
Hunter shared that the most difficult challenge involved with using his PAP is moving it from his truck into his home and back, but it definitely seems worth it, as it helps him get better rest.
Hunter explained that he has not recommended any other drivers to get tested for sleep apnea because “The subject is hardly brought up. But I did talk to another trucker about his and he seems to like it. He said he had his CPAP for 5 years.”
But when asked what he would say to another trucker facing sleep apnea and a CPAP Hunter supported the decision by honestly saying, “Get it! but it does take getting used to wearing it. I can’t sleep without it now because it helps me get better rest.”
We also had to ask about how his wife felt about him using a PAP machine, only to receive good news. “My snoring quit & that’s good. I get a better night’s sleep, wake up more rested.” shared Hunter. It seems to be a win-win for everyone and I think we can all agree, happy wife happy life.
Take Back Your Life From Sleep Apnea
You could be more than just tired, you could have a dangerous sleep disorder that is a major threat to our highways. Getting tested is much easier than you think because you don’t have to go to the doctor.
Instead, contact a durable medical equipment provider for an at home test, that can even be used in your rig. Simply use the device while you sleep and it will measure your pulse and oxygen level to detect how many times you wake during the night.
A qualified clinician will then measure the results to see if you need a CPAP machine. If you do then a DME Specialist can assist you with matching you with the perfect CPAP based off of your prescription and will even handle the hassle of contacting your doctor and insurance company to make sure your supplies are shipped directly to you.
Why wait? Sleep apnea could be destroying your health and making it dangerous to be behind the wheel. Getting tested and managing this condition is easier than you think and it’s even trucker approved. Just ask Hunter!