There are several treatment options for patients diagnosed with sleep-disordered breathing. All treatment options are intended to prevent obstructions from occurring, usually by widening the airway. While positional therapy (the elimination of sleeping on the back) and weight loss are helpful, the most effective form of treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (the most common form) is with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) – a mask over the patient’s nose that gently blows air into the throat to keep the air passage open.
Many drivers in the industry are volunteering to undergo the screening process and receive CPAP treatment. With PPD, this treatment includes education and compliance monitoring, along with the distribution of appropriate medical equipment.
How CPAP works
CPAP works by generating a flow of air through the airway that creates a pressure high enough to keep the throat open. This pressurized air acts as a “splint.” The pressure is set according to the individual’s needs at a level that eliminates the apneas that cause awakenings and sleep fragmentation. The state-of-the-art machines PPD employs are extremely quiet, D/C or A/C power adaptable, and responsive to the changing flow patterns necessary to keep a treated individual’s throat open throughout the night. All of these flow generators are coupled to heated humidifiers which enhance comfort and long-term compliance.
CPAP treatment and motor vehicle accidents
Recent studies on CPAP treatment of sleep-disordered breathing and motor vehicle accidents showed a reduction in accidents among those undergoing CPAP treatment. Projections also indicated that CPAP treatment of 500 drivers with sleep apnea over three years would avert 180 serious crashes, prevent 36 injuries and save $1 million.*
Treatment can save long-haul commercial carriers millions of dollars, and can help reduce the number of sleep-related accidents. It may also help drivers avoid future health complications associated with sleep apnea.
*Vorona and Ware (2002)
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