Professional Truck Drivers work under tough conditions, contending with long hours, and spend most of their time on the road. Whether you are a company driver, an owner-operator, or run a logistics division, you know how important it is for Professional Truck Drivers to be in good health. Being fit and healthy can ensure greater profitability and success in the trucking industry.
Most health conditions are easy to diagnose and treat, but one that is particularly tricky to spot: High blood pressure. Also called hypertension, this health condition is tough to spot and treat because it often doesn’t show any symptoms – until they lead to significant health problems.
Effects Of High Blood Pressure On Professional Truck Drivers
If you are a Professional Truck Driver with high blood pressure, you should know that it can significantly impact your driving career. If you suffer from hypertension, in most cases, you can be certified to drive. However, you would need to take an annual physical exam, to be certified to drive. The impact of high blood pressure on truck drivers can be immense, and letting the issue fester can lead to disqualification from your trucking career.
Left untreated, hypertension in Professional Truck Drivers can lead to several health problems, including:
- Severe cardiovascular issues
- Enlarged heart and a greater risk of heart failure
- Kidney failure
- Blurred vision and blindness
According to the CDC, 47% of all adults in the US suffer from hypertension, and only one in four adults have hypertension under control. Heart disease and stroke are two major causes of death in the US.
How Hypertension In Professional Truck Drivers Affects Their Careers
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) have issued guidelines on how Professional Truck Drivers with high blood pressure can be medically certified to drive. The FMCSA and DOT use medically accepted classifications of high blood pressure to determine the physical exam that hypertensive Professional Truck Drivers need to pass.
Stage one hypertension is when your blood pressure ranges from 140/90 to 150/99. If you are a driver with stage one hypertension, you may be medically certified for a year instead of two. Your BP should read 140/90 or lower during the recertification to pass.
Stage two hypertension is when your blood pressure ranges from 160/100 to 179/109. You can only receive a three-month certification to drive if you suffer from stage two hypertension. You need to bring down your blood pressure to 140/90 to qualify for a one-year certification.
If your blood pressure is 180/110 or above, you will be immediately disqualified from driving until you can successfully bring down your blood pressure.
Many Professional Truck Drivers introduce lifestyle changes to bring down their blood pressure. You can also use medication cleared by the FMCSA and DOT to bring down your blood pressure. Symptoms of high blood pressure include:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Vision changes
- Severe headaches
- Blood in your urine
- Shortness of breath
- Pounding sensation in your neck, ears, or chest
Taking medication prescribed to you by your doctor can help you reduce blood pressure. Pairing medicine with a change in your diet and exercising properly can make a massive difference in bringing your BP down to more manageable levels. It can be challenging to take out time to make working out a part of your routine as a Professional Truck Driver.
Still, something as insignificant as a 30-minute brisk walk most days of the week can help. Reduce salt from your diet because it contributes to hypertension. Remove processed foods from your diet because sodium (the primary ingredient in salt) does not occur naturally in foods. Most of it exists as a result of processing.
Get Yourself Checked Ahead Of Time
Remember that prevention is always better than a cure. If you are pursuing a career as a Professional Truck Driver and plan to become successful, you should get your blood pressure checked right away. Speak with a qualified physician about getting DOT-approved medication and implement measures to adopt a healthier lifestyle to prevent hypertension.
At Fr8 World Logi$tix, we recognize that the most valuable asset you have as a Professional Truck Driver is your health and well-being. To learn more about hypertension and programs geared to provide you with helpful resources, check out the CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention website.
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