DOT Physical, Medical Card Now Looks at Your BMI (Body Mass Index) May Require Drivers to be checked for Sleep Apnea.
So a friend of mine just went in for his DOT physical. As most of you know the rules have been changed and the people performing the physicals have to be licensed and follow a bunch of medical guidelines put out by a branch of the DOT called the FMCSA. The days of your family doctor doing your physical may be over.
So, he went to a provider where he lived to get his physical, expecting it to be an in and out the door visit. Well, it turns out my friend who is in his 50's has hypertension (140/90 is the cutoff) so he's going to have to get that under control. Then the person performing the physical told him that because his BMI-Body Mass Index was over 35 he was going to have to see a sleep doctor and make sure he doesn't have sleep apnea. So my friend was given a three month conditional medical card.
So here's my friend Kent doing his work out routine. He does a whole bunch of those deep knee bend things...Made me tired just photographing him. And then at the end of the day he often takes a couple mile walk.
The thing that really blew me away was that my friend is really into taking care of his health. He does calisthenics each day after he drives and this usually includes taking a couple mile walk. He says he's even dropped a couple pant sizes because he's become so fitness conscious in the last year. It was a complete shock to him that he was the same weight he had been the year before. His doctor told him that muscle weighs more than fat and that is why he hasn't lost any weight while becoming more lean and mean.
My friend isn't looking forward to getting an exam done for sleep apnea. He's one of those drivers that starts driving around six a.m. and is often done for the day before six at night. He doesn't stop for naps he says because he sleeps good and doesn't get tired during his shift. I'm going to try and keep up with him. I'm interested to know more about the process he's going through and how many "hoops" he's going to have to jump through. I'm also interested to know how much out of pocket he's going to have to pay before all of this is said and done.
For those of you drivers worried about your Body Mass Index. (BMI) being too high, (over 35 BMI is the cutoff for sleep apnea testing) Feel free to use the BMI calculator below I borrowed from the CDC.
My DOT physical is coming up and they changed the rules and one of the changes is Doctors must be certified in order to do the physical. Well, my regular doctor at home isn't certified. I thought since I was in Portland why not walk over to First In Health clinic there at Jubitz. The receptionist told me they have an account set up with the company I work for. This is great because I don't have to pay out of pocket and get reimbursed later. The Dr. at First In Health was happy to talk to me before the actual physical and tell me the scoop on what I'd need in order to get my DOT medical card. Turns out since I have a C-pap machine (actually I have two) new DOT reg's require that I needed to get a print out of at least a 30 day period. On this printout I need to show that I've used my machine at least 4.75 hours per day avg for that 30 day period.
Well, of course I didn't have the print out. Also, since I'd bought my last two C-pap machines on Craigslist used and out of pocket (thanks to my ever weakening medical insurance and a six thousand dollar deductible.) my used C-pap machine didn't have the data card in it. The Doctor there at First In Health recommended Mill Plain Medical across the river in Vancouver Wa So, I took Radio Cab over to Mill Plain Medical, (Cab ran me around 27 dollars with tip one way), to talk to area expert on C-pap's Russ Thurgood. Well, thank goodness for Russ. He was able to find the data stored on the machine even without the card and for only around five bucks set me up with a new card. End of story right? Nope, turns out since I have two C-pap's one for my truck and one for the house, that the average I was showing for the last 30 days on that particular C-pap was less than 4.75 hours per day. Well, now my next step is... When I get by the house in Tri Cities is to see if my other C-pap has its data card and get someone to run a printout of it. I may end up just taking it with me in my truck until I get back to Portland. Then hopefully, I will be able to get my DOT physical done because time is starting to run out.
Ok, so if you are obese like me then there are a few things you need to know. Part of my Journey back to health began with a visit to my Doctor. Two Common Health Problems for Truckers are Diabetes and Sleep Apnea. When I went in for my Physical one thing my Doctor did was order a blood sugar screening. We found that I was borderline diabetic so he put me on Metformin which help get my blood sugar down to normal. You can actually make yourself diabetic by allowing yourself to get overweight, or you might be overweight in part because you are Diabetic!! At any rate by losing weight you can actually (in some cases) make your Diabetes Go Away!!
Then my Doctor ordered a sleep study and found that I have a pretty severe case of sleep apnea. Sleep Apnea can be both a cause of weight gain or can be caused by weight gain, Sleep Apnea means that you cant breath right while sleeping so you dont get quality sleep time. I now have a small machine that keeps my airway clear called a Cpap which I take with me on the road. I have grown to love this thing. It is really nice to be able to put in a full day on the road without having to take many naps!! Quality sleep time also helps your body repair itself, and is crucial for weight loss. So Driver I really recommend the first thing you do in order to lose weight and live the healthy trucker life, is visit your Doctor, get a physical and get checked out for Diabetes and Sleep Apnea! B
One of the four pillars of good health is sleep. Back in my early thirties I started noticing I was having a lot of lucid dreaming and really vivid dreams that I could actually remember. I didn't realize at the time that this was a sign of sleep apnea. sleep apnea is when you arent breathing well while sleeping so your body in order to keep you breathing keeps waking you up! Well looking back I realize it is around this time that I started my slow progression of weight gain as well as started having high blood pressure. Both weight gain and high blood pressure can be caused by sleep apnea, and also it can work the other way, weight gain can cause sleep apnea too! Well, ignorance is bliss or in my case slow death, it wasnt until about three years ago that I took my doctors advice and went in for a sleep study. A sleep study is a test where they place sensors all over your head and wrists and basically watch you sleep. They then give all this info to a doctor and he makes a suggestion as to what you need to get a good nights sleep. I had pretty severe sleep apnea. This was very bad, sleep apnea and driving truck dont mix. For obvious reasons, truckers need to be well rested and alert, so they put me on a breathing machine called a C-Pap. This machine takes some getting used to it pumps air through a tube and into a mask over your face. The cool thing is that it is small and portable and I bring it with me over the road. In fact I absolutely love this thing. I cant imagine going back to the days where I was tired all the time. Not good when you drive a truck for a living. So driver if you are feeling tired a lot and are serious about losing weight and getting healthy, you may want to take time to visit a doctor and find out if you have sleep apnea. B
Been trucking since 96. My main interest is having a good healthy life.