January 10th, 2013
By Brice Rowland
Compliance refers to the measurement of how long or how much a patient uses their CPAP or BIPAP machine. Why is Medicare, Medicaid, or your Insurance carrier concerned with Compliance? These guidelines are set in place to make sure that these machines are being purchased and used by someone is who is benefiting from the use of it. Would you want to pay for something that someone didn’t need or simply did not use? Obviously not. Compliance readings allow an insurance provider to make sure you are using your equipment and how often you are using it. For example: Medicare guidelines state you must use your CPAP or BIPAP at least four hours a night 70 percent of the time. This equates to about 84 hours a month or roughly 20 hours a week.
November 21st, 2012
Snoring. Fatigue. Long pauses in breathing. These are just a couple of symptoms and warning signs of sleep apnea. Similar to seeing smoke alerting you of a fire, daytime sleepiness or gasping for air during your sleep can alert you to sleep apnea and should be mentioned to your doctor. If left untreated it could lead to diabetes, heart failure or stroke. Possible treatments of sleep apnea include therapies, surgeries and even an implant that shocks you every time the airways in your lungs close. Each of these possible treatments does include a list of pros and cons.
Therapies for sleep apnea include CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) or BiPAP (Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure) machines designed to continuously deliver various pressure of air into the nose or mouth in order to keep the airway passages open for the free flow of air into your lungs. The pro to this treatment is not having to get surgery. If going under the knife doesn’t please you, then wearing a mask over your nose or mouth during slumber is your best bet. However, the con to this treatment is wearing the mask at night. Many PAP users feel the masks can be quite obtrusive and uncomfortable during slumber. If you’re a stomach sleeper then you would certainly need to adjust your sleeping habit in order to wear a PAP mask. Another con, of course, would have to be constantly replacing your PAP supplies every 3 to 6 months. Bacteria build-up and deterioration is common when using these machines on a daily basis. Make sure you have insurance that will cover durable medical equipment.
If wearing a mask on a nightly basis doesn’t necessarily tickle your fancy, you might want a more permanent treatment to your restless night’s sleep. The most commonly performed surgeries to combat sleep apnea include nasal surgery (correction of nasal problems such as a deviated septum), Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty – UPPP (surgically removing the soft tissue in the back of your throat and palate in order to increase the width of the airway at the opening of the throat) and Mandibular maxillar advancement surgery (constructive surgery to improve a birth defect in your face or throat that may contribute to sleep apnea). The pro to this treatment is that it is permanent. The con would be having to go under the knife which might scare a lot of OSA sufferers.
In some cases especially with only mild cases, weight loss or cutting cigarettes and alcohol out of your diet can improve your night’s slumber. Therapies and surgeries are suggested by your doctor only in moderate or severe cases. If either of these does not sound pleasing to you, you can always look into shock treatment like a Wisconsin man did earlier this year. Dan Gutzman, husband and father of two in Milwaukee, tried a CPAP and could not get used to it. He thought surgery was far too drastic. His doctor explained the shock treatment to him as a nerve stimulator that sends an electric shock wave to his lungs and tongue when his airway is blocked and snoring occurs. If you’d rather not sleep with probes in your mouth and lungs and think an electric shock is just scary, keep to a CPAP therapy treatment.
May 30th, 2012
Over 40% of Americans report not getting enough sleep at night. Those numbers prove especially dangerous within the transportation industry. Within the transportation industry, truck driver sleep apnea is a major concern that is not going unnoticed. In a recent poll, the National Sleep Foundation found truck drivers, train operators, and pilots reported being tired on the job, and sleepiness affecting their work.
Thanks to increased recommendations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration examiners are getting better at screening for those with truck driver sleep apnea based on numerous criteria.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), is a sleep disorder that occurs when an individual’s upper airway closes off while they sleep, causing the person to temporarily quit breathing. “Even though the person is trying to breathe, the upper airway closes, blocks the airflow, oxygen drops, the heart and blood pressure are stressed by this,” explained Dr. Roseanne Barker of the Barker Sleep Institute. “There’s constant awakening through the night because of the breathing difficulties.”
In 2010, new rules were issued limiting flight hours and increasing rest times for pilots. Now, Dr. Barker says trucking companies are evaluating their drivers’ schedules, too. “They need to be extra sharp because they’re driving larger vehicles, or they may be transporting passengers, or hazardous materials. And so we need them to be even safer you could say than the general public out there driving.”
May 24th, 2012
Tougher standards for commercial driver sleep apnea are being proposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Recommendations from the medical community and an advisory panel representing industry, enforcement, labor and safety advocacy interests, for how medical examiners should evaluate the condition are being adopted. The panels recommendation was that FMCSA should require medical examiners to evaluate drivers with a body mass index of 35 or more for sleep apnea. While the recommendation provides guidance to examiners, the panels see this as an interim step toward a comprehensive rule in the industry.
Recommended conditions that should trigger immediate disqualification of a driver pending evaluation and treatment for commercial driver sleep apnea would be falling asleep while driving or having a fatigue-related crash.
The determination of a body mass index of 35 being the trigger for screening is a result of research that shows BMI, a measurement of body fat based on height and weight, is a primary indicator that a person may have sleep apnea. The higher a driver’s BMI, the greater the likelihood of sleep apnea. There are other indicators, such as male gender and middle age, but BMI is an effective tool for medical examiners to make the initial screening.
Sleep apnea can lead to chronic fatigue, which can result in negative performance issues such as lapses of attention, slowed reaction time and distractibility. According to Charles Czeisler, professor of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School, “The crash risk for a person with sleep apnea is 242% greater than a person without the disorder.”
April 17th, 2012
More than 12 million Americans are affected by sleep apnea significant enough to require treatment, according to the National Institutes of Health. The Greek word “apnea” literally means “without breath.” There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and mixed; of the three, obstructive is the most common. Despite the difference in the root cause of each type, in all three, people with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night and often for a minute or longer. With the proper sleep apnea testing it can be diagnosed and treated successfully.
We have a free online Sleep Apnea Survey on our website so can get your sleep score. Sleep apnea is a very serious condition that needs to be diagnosed and treated. This free service is for people like you who are interested in having their answers reviewed by a physician at absolutely no charge. The physician requires some basic information from you in case your questionnaire results are positive and you need to be contacted regarding sleep apnea testing. Your results and information are considered private and are protected information under Federal and State laws.
We also have a forum on our website that you can participate in and talk to others who have had testing, diagnosis and are undergoing treatment.
April 3rd, 2012
Trucking company owners should know that having employees with sleep apnea diminishes their fleet driver safety and puts more than just the driver at risk. They need to have their employees with suspected sleep issues evaluated by a medical professional. If they get the treatment they need there won’t be liability risks for you. Treatment requires an individualized program that focuses on the needs of the person experiencing sleep apnea. When it comes to fleet driver safety there needs to be a complete medical history, physical examination and specific testing done in order to have it treated.
Behavioral and lifestyle changes could be mandated in the treatment of sleep apnea in truck drivers in order to ensure fleet driver safety. Those with mild cases respond well to adjustments as simple as adjusting their sleep position. Losing weight is also an option recommended to those who are overweight. Sleep apnea episodes can often be reduced by using devices that help to keep individuals on their side during sleep.
The most widely used and effective treatment method for more serious cases of sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment. The patient sleeps with a CPAP mask while continuous air is forced through the nasal passages into the airways. This prevents the throat from collapsing during sleep. Doctors sometimes prescribe dental appliances for the patient to wear to control sleep apnea.
March 19th, 2012
There are various sleep apnea treatments available depending upon which type of sleep apnea you have. If you have not had a sleep study done yet, we urge you to do so as soon as possible. There’s no excuse for living with a condition that can be as easily diagnosed and treated as this can.
Obstructive sleep apnea or OSA, is the most common form of sleep apnea. OSA occurs when throat muscles relax during sleep, the air passages become blocked because soft tissues around the throat and nasal passages also relax thus impeding the free flow of air.
Central sleep apnea or CSA occurs during sleep. There is an imbalance in the brain’s respiratory control center disrupting the signals between the brain and the diaphragm muscles that control breathing.
Sleep apnea treatments include several sleep apnea machines to treat OSA. One treatment option is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Therapy or CPAP. A mask which is hooked to a machine that supplies air under constant pressure is worn over the mouth and nose while sleeping. Positive air pressure is utilized to keep the user’s airways open.
Another treatment option is a BIPAP or bi-level adjustable airway pressure device. This device automatically adjusts the air pressure while exhaling. More pressure is provided when inhaling and less when exhaling making it easier to exhale for many users.
Oral appliances are also useful sleep apnea treatments for OSA. These appliances can keep the throat open by helping to keep the jaw and tongue in proper alignment when lying down. These are easier to use than the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure and BI-Level Positive Airway machines but the latter are often more effective.
Other treatments are as simple as adjusting your sleep position, losing weight, and quitting smoking. Any one of these can have a huge impact on your sleep apnea issues.
March 12th, 2012
Trucker safety has become one of the top priorities in the truck driving industry due to the amount of risk in the job. It is important that truck drivers recognize this and make safety their first priority in their jobs.
1. Keep up to date with new safety regulations and truck driving laws. This can be done online and your carrier employer is responsible for circulating safety developments to you as soon as they receive information from the FMCSA.
2. Maintenance of your vehicle is essential for safe driving. Follow a regular maintenance schedule to ensure that the truck is in good condition.
3. Truckers need to practice the art of defensive driving. Many automobile drivers lack the skills to maneuver around or behind trucks that can lead to potentially fatal mistakes.
4. Staying alert is required to maintain trucker safety. You should be aware of when you need to take a break. Find and use trusted rest areas and truck stops. Know your limitations and take steps to stay alert. Make the best use of rest breaks to relax and refresh yourself for the rest of your journey.
5. If you are responsible for unloading your cargo when you reach your destination be sure to employ proper lifting techniques. Long hours on the road can put a strain on your back muscles. Don’t further exert and injure yourself in the process.
6. Truck drivers have the responsibility to ensure that they are in good physical condition. Fatigue management is important to trucker safety. Always make sure that you have had sufficient sleep to stay alert.
February 26th, 2012
As health care costs continue to increase employers are always looking for ways to provide adequate health care coverage to their employees at the lowest cost possible to the company. Accidents drive up the price of health care and nowhere is this more evident than in the trucking industry.
Fatigue and sleep apnea in truck drivers increase the possibility of accidents on the road. Drivers cannot stay alert while driving if they do not have adequate sleep of long enough duration. Those with sleep apnea are guaranteed not to have that.
Sleep apnea in truck drivers, left untreated, increases the risk of other health issues. Heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure and various immune problems can all arise as a result of undiagnosed and thus untreated sleep apnea. All of these additional conditions increase the amount a company is paying for health care more so than if the sleep apnea was diagnosed and treated at its first signs. Health care costs associated with sleep apnea can be reduced by 50% per driver when the sleep apnea in truck drivers is treated.
You can hire sleep specialists like AeroFlow Industrial Clinics to test your drivers and make treatment recommendations. We’ll follow through with periodic evaluations to be sure the treatments of choice made by your drivers diagnosed with sleep apnea are being used and are alleviating the apnea.
February 21st, 2012
If you’ve undergone a sleep study and have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea you probably know there are a number of different ways to treat the disorder. Obstructive sleep apnea treatment can be as simple as lifestyle changes – Starting an exercise plan, for instance, so that you can lose excess weight is many times all that is needed to remedy the situation. Successfully quitting smoking can have a major impact on sleep apnea as well as on your health in general. Occasionally doctors will recommend sleeping on your side and avoiding sleeping on your back. This helps some people.
When simple lifestyle changes don’t alleviate the disorder other types of obstructive sleep apnea treatment consist of using a continuous positive away pressure (CPAP) machine during sleep. This delivers air pressure through a mask placed over your nose while you sleep. This keeps your upper airway passages open, preventing apnea and snoring.
There are other types of adjustable airway pressure devices if you find the CPAP machine is too uncomfortable. There are units that supply bilevel positive airway pressure known as BPAP machines. They provide more pressure when you inhale and less when you exhale.
Another obstructive sleep apnea treatment is wearing an oral appliance specifically designed to keep your throat open. Many people find these easiest to use. You may need to try different devices to find the one that works best for you. To find the right fit you’d need to visit your dentist.
Additionally there are surgical options for treating obstructive sleep apnea where tissue is removed from your throat that may be vibrating and blocking your air passages causing sleep apnea.