In the world of commercial transportation, great attention has been paid lately to the causes of poor attentiveness due to operator exhaustion. The poor quality of sleep and its resultant poor on-the-job performance has come into focus.
In Canada, professional drivers with a diagnosis of sleep apnea are required to use CPAP machines to treat their condition. Their use is monitored and their ability to maintain their jobs is predicated upon treatment compliance. It won’t be long before this action spreads to other areas of transportation (air and sea travel) and other countries.
In a world where the diagnosis of sleep apnea is so costly and its manifestations have such tremendous variability, this forced compliance is dangerous. Additionally, since there is literally only one FDA-approved treatment (the CPAP machine) and it is tolerated by only 40% of those who use it, the mandate is troublesome at best. The bottom line is that the CPAP machine is not always effective.
It is this combination of problems with diagnosis and limited methods of treatment that places society in a difficult position. The poor work performance and possible public endangerment that results from sleep apnea is a very real consequence that must be dealt with. It costs the world economy trillions of dollars a year. Yet the only approved mechanism for dealing with it (CPAP) is not yet mature.
What has continued to plague the appropriate treatment of this condition is that none of the “solutions” address the actual cause of the problem. Being overweight does not cause this problem, smoking does not cause this problem, sleeping on one’s back does not cause this problem. So what then, does cause the problem? Read on to learn more.