Keep On Truckin’

d_Ramos.jpg (8288 bytes)
Tony Ramos, Publisher
D_Paige.jpg (7216 bytes)
Paige Smith, Editor

While one drives a vehicle with 18 wheels and the other rides a bike or skateboard with four wheels, truck drivers and kids have one thing in common: sleep disorders, which can be a result of the demands being placed on both of them. Although obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common sleep disorder in adults, it has also gained significant recognition in children as well. Of school-aged children, 10% to 30% are reported to snore and 4.9% to 8.5% are habitual snorers with the incidence of OSA in children estimated at 1% to 3%.

This issue’s Guest Editorial by Kendall R. White, RPSGT, which discusses the trucking industry (page 10), and a feature article on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder written by Gary L. Montgomery, MD, (page 58) both point out that Americans’ fast-paced lifestyle contributes to truckers and kids losing sleep, often resulting in severe consequences. For truckers, lack of sleep can result in traffic accidents and fatalities as well as contribute to hypertension, depression, heart attacks, and strokes.

For children, lack of sleep may be the cause of them being diagnosed with ADHD, which can result in poor school performance and behavioral problems at home. While many children who are diagnosed with ADHD are prescribed drugs like Ritalin, a more appropriate course of action may be to determine if a sleeping disorder is the real problem. Montgomery explains that an individualized treatment plan based on the findings from an evaluation and the degree of symptoms that disrupt the child’s school performance and social interaction should be implemented. Part of this plan includes behavioral interventions if there is any suggestion of inadequate sleep or inappropriate timing of sleep, diagnosis of specific sleep disorders through the patient’s history and polysomnogram, and provision of optimal treatment, and if the child is prescribed stimulant medication for ADHD, the dose and schedule need to be determined on a case-by-case basis. A recent article in the New York Times reported a study that found a significant link between symptoms such as a child’s snoring and behavioral problems during the day. The lead author of the story, Ronald Chervin, MD, of the Michael S. Aldrich Sleep Disorders Laboratory at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, claims that fatigue may be the cause of ADHD in some cases.

The demands on the trucking industry have increased each year in direct correlation with population growth and the 24/7 lifestyle that many Americans have embraced. It used to be that we expected certain items to be delivered only on the next day. Now, when we are asked when we would like to receive an item or have a task completed, the casual response is “yesterday.” Regardless of how fast society’s pace has picked up, both truckers and kids still need their sleep, and unless someone comes up with a solution to the problem that there are still only 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week, there will have to be trade-offs. Otherwise, adults and kids are going to be trading their good health for the unrealistic demands of society.

Sleep professionals can help by educating family physicians and general practitioners about the benefits of sufficient sleep and the consequences of sleep deprivation since they are usually the first point of contact for most individuals accessing the health care system. By doing so, sleep specialists can greatly contribute to solving some of the health problems of truckers and kids alike, and help see that both “keep on truckin’.”

Tony Ramos, Publisher
tramos@medpubs.com

Paige Smith, Editor
psmith@medpubs.com