Understanding FMCSA Guidelines for Sleep Apnea

FusionHealth® Chief Medical Officer Jeffrey Durmer, MD PhD presented to transportation professionals at the 2012 American Trucking Association ITLC/NAFC Annual Conference. Dr. Durmer led an educational session focused on current FMCSA Guidelines for Sleep Apnea and likely future regulations that will address the critical prevalence of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) in drivers. According to Dr. Durmer, various studies conducted since the 1970s prove that Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea are plaguing drivers in the transportation industry.

While the numbers have fluctuated slightly over the years, the pervasiveness of OSA among drivers is close to a 3rd of the population. A cause for greater concern, however, is the reality that 80-90% of drivers with OSA have not been diagnosed, coincidentally the same percentage of the general population that goes undiagnosed. Enter your information below to access the full video featuring Dr. Durmer’s explanation of FMCSA Guidelines for Sleep Apnea.

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Click play on the video below to see the introduction to the presentation.

Key Points from Dr. Durmer’s 2012 ITLC/NAFC Annual Conference Session:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a form of Sleep Disordered Breathing

During sleep, the upper airway muscles relax and allow the airway to close, temporarily suspending breathing

Sleep Disordered Breathing ranges from snoring to Complex Sleep Apnea:

Snoring -> Upper Airway Resistance Disorder -> Mild OSA -> Moderate OSA -> Central

Apnea -> Complex Apnea

OSA activates the brain during sleep and simulates the “Fight or Flight” sensation, which releases cortisol and increases blood pressure

Over production of cortisol results in increased blood glucose levels and sets the stage for Type II Diabetes, Hypertension, and Heart Disease

OSA daytime symptoms create hazardous work environments and road dangers

OSA affects working memory, short-term memory, and span of attention

2011 meeting on traffic safety concluded with the following OSA recommendations for the transportation industry:

  • Drivers with a Body Mass Index (BMI) equal to or higher than 35 should screened for Sleep Apnea, and if diagnosed, must consistently show compliance with a treatment program