Even under ideal conditions, truck driving is a demanding profession, and truck drivers, regrettably, have a greater incidence of medical issues such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and cardiovascular disease than the general population. When competent commercial drivers are scarce, everything trucking firms can do to assist drivers in passing their DOT physical examination is undoubtedly beneficial.
High blood pressure, diabetes, cardiac events, sleep apnea, and weight problems are the top five conditions medical examiners see. The DOT requires several exams, and depending on your specific findings, and you will get a card indicating when you must recertify. Generally, drivers may wait a full year before recertifying, although these dates may vary if you have a history of high blood pressure or heart issues. A stress test is needed and may be performed in one of three ways: physically, chemically, or via a nuclear test. If you have a history of cardiac issues, you must bring a copy of your most recent treadmill exercise tolerance test with you. A stress test may not be necessary if you have undergone open-heart surgery in the past five years.
Blood pressure is another common concern in the driving community that, if not addressed correctly, may escalate into more severe issues. Increased levels may be hazardous and are often linked to behavioral problems such as smoking, excessive coffee use, and irregular sleeping habits.
Blood pressure requirement for DOT physical
Blood pressure is critical to anyone’s health. As a result, all candidates must adhere to DOT blood pressure standards. However, if an employer believes more robust requirements are required, the DOT blood pressure recommendations may easily be adjusted to meet those higher standards.
According to the DOT’s blood pressure recommendations:
- Medical certification is required for drivers with a blood pressure measurement of less than 140/90 for a period of two years.
- Drivers with a systolic blood pressure of 140-159 and a diastolic blood pressure of 90-99 are classed as having stage 1 hypertension. As a result, their driving certification term will be reduced to one year and will need further examination each year before re-certification. Following then, all subsequent readings should be at or below 140/90.
- Drivers with a systolic blood pressure of 160-179 and a diastolic blood pressure of 100-109 are termed stage 2 hypertension candidates for treatment. According to DOT blood pressure standards, these drivers are only eligible for a three-month certification, during which time their blood pressure should be less than or equal to 140/90. If certain thresholds are met, the application driver may be recertified for one year from the date of the first test, followed by yearly re-certification.
- Stage 3 hypertensive drivers — those with a systolic blood pressure of 180 or higher or diastolic blood pressure of 110 – are automatically banned due to the danger they represent to other road users. The drivers may not be qualified – even temporarily – until their blood pressure levels fall to or below 140/90 and therapy is successful. Drivers are then regarded as safety certified for six months, followed by biennial assessments, if they maintain 140/90 or below.
How to lower blood pressure for DOT physical
You may take many measures to ensure that your blood pressure remains low before your DOT exam. Please consult your primary care physician about any long-term recommendations they make.
Consume copious amounts of water. Inadequate hydration is a medically recognized cause of hypertension.
Consume fresh fruits and veggies. Consuming fruits and vegetables has many health advantages and significantly reduces high blood pressure.
Consume potassium-containing foods. Potassium-rich foods have been shown to help decrease blood pressure within a few hours after consumption.
Consider meditating; Stress reduction aids in blood pressure reduction. The American Heart Association has recognized meditation’s ability to help reduce blood pressure as well.
Take a nap. Sleep problems or insufficient sleep may result in hypertension or an increase in blood pressure. A regular 30-45-minute sleep has been proven to aid in blood pressure reduction.
Reduce your salt consumption and begin eating a healthy diet. Consuming nutritious foods is essential. Develop a salad, fruit, and veggie menu and abstain from fatty fast food.
Caffeine consumption should be reduced. Coffee addicts have prolonged bouts of high blood pressure. On the other hand, caffeine affects individuals differently, so contact your physician about your particular caffeine consumption.
Consume alcohol in moderation. Drivers must exercise caution when it comes to alcohol use. Consumption of alcoholic beverages substantially increases blood pressure.
Put an end to your smoking. Each cigar or cigarette you smoke increases your blood pressure and puts your cardiovascular system under stress.
Improve your sleep quality. Poor sleep quality has been found to increase blood pressure in studies. Consuming a healthier diet, increasing physical activity, shutting out light and sound, and investing in a higher-end mattress are all conventional ways to improve sleep quality.
At-Home Blood Pressure Monitoring. Home monitoring may assist you in maintaining control of your blood pressure. Consult your physician about home monitoring before you begin—and ensure that you are familiar with blood pressure readings.
Exercise. Daily Physical Activity Exercise consistently is one of the healthiest things you can do. If you have high blood pressure, exercising for 150 minutes each week may help reduce it by 5 to 8 mm Hg.
Ascertain that you do not run out of your blood pressure medicine. Bear in mind that you must take your medicine on time. If you forget, the majority of physicians suggest that you take your medication as soon as possible.
Fortunately, you have power over the DOT Blood pressure standards. While the repercussions of bad life choices may impair your day-to-day trucking, keep in mind that this is a safeguard to protect truckers from much more severe and long-lasting health problems. Fortunately, you have power over the DOT Blood pressure standards. While the repercussions of bad life choices may impair your day-to-day trucking, keep in mind that this is a safeguard to protect truckers from much more severe and long-lasting health problems.