Does a DOT Physical Require a Sleep Apnea Test?

By: | Tags: | Comments: 0

The Department of Transportation (DOT) physical is a test that permits drivers to drive a commercial vehicle of over 10,000 pounds. This test must be taken every 2 years so that drivers can be tested on their physical fitness and health, to make sure drivers can safely operate a large vehicle.

The DOT physical assesses many areas of your health, but one of the areas that have received a lot of focus in the past few years is the detection of sleep apnea.What are the DOT physical Sleep Apnea Test Requirements?

Sleep apnea can affect your ability to operate a vehicle if you are experiencing sleep deprivation regularly. Sleep loss while driving can lead to dozing off behind the wheel and increases the potential for hazardous and sometimes deadly accidents.

Can You Pass a DOT Physical If You Have Sleep Apnea?

If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea and use a CPAP machine, you will need to have a DOT physical once every 12 months. This is to ensure you are still managing your condition properly. The key to successfully passing the test is remaining CPAP compliant. CPAP compliance requires regular nightly use of your CPAP machine based on your doctor’s recommendations, including using the machine with proper pressure settings based on the severity of your sleep apnea.

Can I Pass the DOT Physical If I Have Untreated Sleep Apnea?

Not having a sleep apnea diagnosis does not mean you can avoid DOT testing for the sleep condition. During the DOT physical, doctors will look at other indicators that increase the likelihood of sleep apnea. This includes age, weight, and even neck width. These factors all increase the possibility of having sleep apnea, whether you have been diagnosed or not.

If you meet any of the above criteria, the doctor performing the DOT physical may recommend that you be tested for sleep apnea. While a sleep apnea diagnosis may cause stress and anxiety, it may help improve your life. A sleep apnea diagnosis can lead to proper treatment for the condition, so you get better sleep and enjoy enhanced overall health.

Can I Lose My CDL Due To Sleep Apnea?

There is always the risk that you can lose your CDL due to sleep apnea. But there are conditions. A sleep apnea diagnosis only means that you need to begin treatment for the sleep disorder. Once you begin that treatment and adhere to CPAP compliance, you can keep your CDL without concern.

Only drivers who ignore the sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment are at true risk of losing their license. Their untreated sleep apnea can make them a danger to themselves and others on the road.

Once you have a sleep apnea diagnosis, CPAP compliance is easy to follow and does not interfere with your job as a commercial vehicle driver.

Are There Any New DOT Physical And Sleep Apnea Requirements?

A sleep apnea diagnosis during a DOT physical requires another DOT physical every year.

  • You will be required to document your CPAP machine use for 30 consecutive days to prove that you are using your CPAP machine.
  • You must prove that you have adhered to CPAP compliance for at least 4 hours on 70% of nights in the past 30 days.
  • You will also need to report you do not have any major sleepiness or fatigue symptoms for your first DOT physical.
  • For your yearly DOT physical, you’ll need to have your CPAP therapy report for the entire period since the last medical card expired and the date of the physical.

Maximum BMI For DOT Sleep Apnea

If you have a BMI of over 40, you’ll need to have a sleep study if you have not been diagnosed with sleep apnea. While a higher BMI doesn’t guarantee a sleep apnea diagnosis, likely, your increased body mass index can also mean sleep apnea.

Reducing your BMI through diet and exercise is one of the many lifestyle changes you can make to improve health and reduce the likelihood of sleep apnea.

Where Can I Take a Sleep Apnea Test?

You can take a sleep apnea test through a sleep study. These studies are prescribed by your doctor and take place in sleep labs. You have to schedule the sleep study and prepare to spend the night at the lab to get the most accurate results.

In-lab sleep studies evaluate many different aspects of your sleep to determine if you have sleep apnea. The downside of in-lab studies is that it can be difficult to sleep peacefully in a foreign environment like a clinical sleep lab and the presence of sleep lab technicians.

Also, sleep studies require you to find a location and schedule your sleep study ahead of time.

Is there any Option for an At Home Sleep Apnea Test?

You can take your own sleep apnea test at home with Sleep Care Online.

  1. With the Complete Care Package, schedule a 15-minute telehealth visit with a healthcare provider to discuss symptoms, upcoming sleep study, test results, and discuss treatment options.
  2. A multi-night, disposable home sleep apnea test is mailed to your home to be completed at your convenience.
  3. A physician analyzes the sleep data and provides a prescription if needed.
  4. Schedule an optional follow-up appointment (additional fee applies).
  5. We connect you to sleep experts who can offer customized sleep therapy options, assistance in equipment purchase, and initial set-up.

How Can Sleep Apnea Be Treated?

If you receive a diagnosis of sleep apnea, treatment usually involves the use of a PAP device. CPAP machines are prescribed by your doctor. They use pressurized air directed through a hose into a mask you wear at night to keep your airway open while you sleep.

CPAP therapy is the most common and most successful treatment for sleep apnea. By staying CPAP compliant using the prescribed pressure setting given to you by your doctor you can maintain healthy sleep every night. The collected data from your CPAP machine can help show DOT doctors that you are staying CPAP compliant, healthy, and ready to drive.

DOT & Sleep Apnea – Key Takeaways

While a DOT physical can be worrisome to anyone who relies on their CDL for their career, a sleep apnea test or result is nothing to worry about. The treatment of sleep apnea involves a simple machine prescribed by your doctor. Sleep apnea treatment will not only ensure you keep your CDL but also provide numerous health benefits. With CPAP compliance you get to sleep better, feel more alert during the day, and live a healthier life.

Leave a Reply

Order Your Home Sleep Apnea Test Today