View Full Version : Tiredness and sleepiness
10th May 2012, 14:57
A friend of mine (23 yrs old) who is also a commercial pilot has this severe tiredness and sleepiness problem! If he does a full days work he'll get very tried and have the need of having a nap for at least 2/3 hours very night! I've told him to see his GP but his scared he might loose his class one! My girlfriend says he properly has diabetes! If he does have diabetes or something along them lines.. whats the chances of him losing his Class 1?
10th May 2012, 15:12
I think the diabetes 'diagnosis', is a little premature. Fatigue is often due to poor lifestyle. Changes in nutrition and exercise levels can produce huge improvements.
Being fearful of a diabetic diagnosis is pointless as it will show up during a standard aeromedical anyway.
10th May 2012, 15:25
Thats what I thought.. He recently had a CAA renewal and they normally do little blood test on the spot.. But would that show up something like diabetes on the mini blood sample they take from the finger tip during the renewal ?
10th May 2012, 16:25
I think the urine test would be the first indication. Raised glucose levels in the urine will indicate a need for further testing. I used to work with a guy who had diabetes diagnosed during the aeromedical, so I'm pretty sure it is tested for, or at least the initial indications are looked for.
10th May 2012, 18:57
Shhesh, there's so many possibilities.
Diabetes is a known one, but, as has been said, that would be tested very quickly by one of them chem-strip things dipped in to his urine would give a signal very quickly (I'm guessing he had to "pee in this while you stand on the scales" so I would say it's doubtful.
Stress is an obvious one too. How much does your friend "enjoy" his job? If he's feeling stressed daily, his quality of sleep will drop.
Old favourite, get him to the GP for a full blood test. Or just buy some Vitamin D3 while he waits for the blood results. A Vit D deficiency is a favourite for screwed up sleep, as I know only too well (Me and the Insomnia Fairy have been having a relationship for years, especially in winter). Vit D supplements and/or a change of diet to foods that are rich in Vit D do help. Also, deficiency has been linked to other things like depression, so if he's been feeling a bit "flat" and "down" then that could also affect his sleep and, again, a boost in Vit D could help there too.
There could be a deficiency in something else, wait on the blood tests.
The list goes on.....
10th May 2012, 19:37
There is only one answer to this:- GET TO THE DOCTOR! It's no good pussyfooting around trying all sorts of pills, potions, advice which may be well intended but may also exacerbate the problem, in the hope that it will go away. It will not go away until it has been correctly diagnosed. NOBODY, and I stress NOBODY on here, including myself, has the faintest idea what is actually wrong with your friend. There is a myriad of possible diagnoses. He may well be afraid of losing his licence for a while but better that than an aircraft in pieces somewhere and a long list of grieving relatives and friends.
10th May 2012, 19:38
Generally there are two reasons for tiredness and sleepiness.
The first is, there's a medical reason behind it, (eg. diabetes, thyroid problem, anaemia).
The other reason has more to do with "life" reasons- eg poor sleep, working too hard, burning the candle, being unfit. Or just trying to keep up with life. I should imagine commercial flying is a tiring activity. After flying circuits at Barton for an hour usually resulted in me having to come home and have a lie down :)
I'd hazard a guess that the reasons behind your friends tiredness is more to do with the latter, rather than the former, although sometimes we are suprised.
Diabetes new onset in a 23 yr old-unlikely, (but not impossible), anaemia unlikely in a man of this age, more possible in a lady, thyroid problem-possible, but perhaps other symptoms would have arisen also.
Unfortunately, you're friend will have to see someone who should listen to their symptoms carefully, ask the right questions and would probably have to send them for some simple blood tests.
If diabetes is playing on their mind, then an (anonymous) test is usually available at the local pharmacy.
I'd suggest a trip to a listening GP. If they look more tired than their GP then they really are in trouble.:)
10th May 2012, 20:23
I understand your friend's concern about his license but it must be remembered that if, god forbid, he does have a condition that leads to permanent loss of license, then it would have to be a very serious condition. Such a condition will need treatment for any kind of quality of life to be maintained. In this case the truth will inevitably come out,,,
If the concern is a temporary loss of license, it must be impressed that it is far from unusual to have a medical temporarily revoked. I've seen it happen many times without any detriment to career.
I agree with all the previous posts. Quit any self diagnosis and get some professional advice. A simple bloodworks will rule many serious conditions.
26th May 2012, 07:44
I have seen several pilots lose their jobs (not their medical) because they simply could not cope with night flying schedules. Not everyone has the ability to adapt to this. If you have a legit medical problem, yes, you might be grounded for awhile. Maybe even permanently. But finding out on your own right now is better than waking up in an ambulance after your copilot landed the plane on his own. It is a fact of life that you need to be medically fit to fly; that is the whole point of a medical.
I had my medical pulled for something my AME was concerned about. Yes, I put it on my job apps. No, it was not an issue. Yes, I am still flying and life goes on.
Look at the fat four-stripers and ask yourself how many will make it to 65. Then start taking care of yourself. But don't lie to yourself. You can find out now or find out later when you have far fewer options. Good luck.
1st Jun 2012, 22:48
As one of those former "fat four strippers" (though not fat) after a career of 49 years, I note one of the biggest failings of our job, because of its very nature, the reluctance of so many pilots to get their health checked relying only on the six month medical. How many times have I heard on the flight deck, some F/O obviously worried about some health problem, but ask has he seen his doctor, well no. You owe it to your family, your company, your PAX to be as healthy as possible, I know our careers were and are based on that medical and that SIM every six months, and that is nerve wracking as it is. However we all carry insurance, and if the worst comes to the worst, you can still pay the mortgage. Enough said.
I don't understand OP's terminology about his colleague being tired and needing a 2/3 hour nap every night. I am not tired and I need a 6 hour SLEEP every night! Mind you I am not that active and I am not in my 20s!