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Sleep apnea putting CMV drivers at risk of crashing, researchers say

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San Francisco – More than 40 percent of commercial motor vehicle drivers may have obstructive sleep apnea, potentially increasing their risk of being involved in a crash, according to a review conducted by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco.

OSA, the most common type of sleep apnea, occurs when the airway becomes blocked and normal breathing is interrupted. It can lead to increased sleepiness during the day and make drivers less alert.

The researchers examined sleep laboratory data from 16 studies that looked at occupation as a risk factor for OSA. They found that 41 percent of CMV drivers may have OSA, about twice the rate of non-obese men in the general public.

Researchers noted that CMV drivers may have other OSA risk factors, such as elevated obesity levels, high blood pressure, stress and irregular sleep schedules.

Study lead author Dr. Paul Blanc said in a press release that although further studies are needed to clarify possible association, “clinicians should take into account occupational factors in considering sleep disorders and OSA.”

The review was published in the June edition of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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