Hypertension and Drivers
I have sent my driver for a DOT physical and the doctor has issued a three-month certification due to the blood pressure (hypertension) of my driver. Can my driver continue to be qualified by seeing the physician every three months and receiving a new medical certificate?
NO! The three-month certification for hypertension is a one-time certification. Hypertension, as defined by the regulations, is classified in three stages depending on the systolic and or diastolic blood pressure readings taken of the driver.
*It should be noted that once a driver has been diagnosed with hypertension, the re-certification for Stage 1 and Stage 2 will continue to occur annually and the recertification for Stage 3 will occur every six months. The regulations, as outlined in 391.43, specifically state that if a driver has hypertension and/or is being medicated for hypertension, he or she should be recertified more frequently.
What can you do to help control hypertension?
- Stage #1 (systolic 159-140 and or diastolic 99-90): A driver with this condition may be certified for one year. Upon re-certification, if the driver’s blood pressure is equal to or less than 140/90 could they again be certified for one year. However, if the driver’s blood pressure is greater than 140/90 and less than 160/100 at the time of re-certification, the driver is issued a one time three month certificate.
- Stage #2 (systolic 179-160 and or diastolic 109-100): A driver with this condition must be treated and given a one-time, three-month certificate. Once the driver has reduced the blood pressure to 140/90 or less, a one-year certificate is than issued and recertified annually.
- Stage #3 (systolic equal to or greater than 180 and or diastolic equal to or greater than 110): A driver with this condition cannot be certified until their blood pressure has been reduced to 140/90 or less. The driver is then recertified every six months.
Driver Health on the Road
- Eat healthy foods. Try the dietary approach to control hypertension. Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods. Get plenty of potassium. Eat less saturated fat, trans fat and total fat. Limit the amount of sodium (salt) in your diet.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, losing even 5 pounds can lower your blood pressure.
- Increase physical activity. Strive for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day.
- Limit alcohol. Even if you are healthy, alcohol can raise your blood pressure. Drink in moderation; it is suggested no more than one drink a day for women and two a day for men.
- Don’t smoke. Tobacco injures blood vessel walls and speeds up the process of hardening of the arteries. If you smoke, get help. Ask your doctor to help you quit!
- Manage your stress. Reduce stress as much as possible. Practice healthy coping techniques, such as muscle relaxation and deep breathing. Get plenty of sleep!
As a driver of a commercial motor vehicle it is hard to eat and remain healthy compared to other professions. Just the physical demands of the job make it hard to stay physically fit, such as requiring you to sit to operate the vehicle, unless you are collecting garbage. Eating while on the job also does not lend itself to a healthy lifestyle. The following will provide you with some tips to stay healthy when eating fast food.
|Try selecting from the following:
||Try avoiding the following:
|The smallest sized hamburger
|Grilled chicken sandwiches
|Fried or breaded chicken or fish;
as well as chicken nuggets
|Low-fat dressings and sauces
(or none at all)
|High-fat dressings and sauces
|Diet soft drinks or preferably, water
||Extra/ sides of cheese
The #1 Secret To Reduce Blood Pressure
Everything about the human body is designed to move. The heart is just one of the muscles that moves blood around the body, and the heart depends on movement of the rest of the body to help it move blood around. In other words, when you move your body you help your heart do its job.
As a commercial driver, your job is getting stuff from point A to point B as quickly as possible. So you sit for hours on end with no movement. This forces your heart to do all the work, to pump all the blood, for all of your body. Something it was never designed to do.
So what’s the big secret to reduce blood pressure and stay out of hypertension?
Be conscious of sitting still for hours while you’re driving. Find ways to make even small movements in your feet, legs, hands, arms, shoulders and neck. The secret is in moving frequently.
Find ways to be active outside the truck. Ten minute activity periods, four or five times a day will go a long way to reduce blood pressure and maintain your DOT medical card at two year intervals.
- When loading or unloading seems to be taking too long, take that time to move, stretch, and walk.
- Park at the far end of the rest stop, and walk the long way around, to get into the building.
- Don’t always eat at the truck stop. Walk to a nearby restaurant to eat. Walk to a nearby grocery store and buy some healthy food to eat on the road.
- Step in and out of your truck 10 times after stopping for a meal. Or walk around your truck 10 times. Every extra step helps!
- Walk around the parking lot, up and down the rows, and find the nicest looking customized truck.Regular physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your heart. A healthy heart helps keep blood pressure low.
Regular physical activity also helps control your weight and reduce stress. Any regular exercise like walking or biking, even 15 minutes a day will do wonders for your health.
July is UV Protection Month
As a professional driver subject to the sun’s rays constantly you need to make sure you are wearing the proper sunglasses to protect your eyes. In addition, proper sunglasses allow you as a driver to operate safely at an increased level of visibility.
Tips for Choosing the Right Sunglasses
Sunglasses aren't just a fashion accessory. They are an important protection for your eyes against the damaging rays of the sun. It's important for you to know what kind of light you need to protect your eyes from and what type of light is not necessarily harmful. Here are some tips for picking the right pair of nonprescription sunglasses.
Choose glasses that block 99 percent of ultraviolet (UV) rays.
This is the most important feature of your sunglasses, and you should always choose sunglasses that provide this protection. Long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight is linked to eye disease, including cataracts. Some manufacturers' labels say UV absorption up to 400nm. This is the same thing as 100 percent UV absorption. Some glasses make additional claims for blocking infrared rays, but research has not shown a close connection between infrared rays and eye disease.
Don't rely on the price.
Budget conscious? Many types of affordable sunglasses offer 99 to 100 percent UV protection, so you don't need to spend a lot of money on a pair of sunglasses.
Check the quality of the sunglasses.
In addition to UV protection, you also want to check the optical quality of the lenses. You can easily test the quality of sunglasses by looking at something with a rectangular pattern, such as a floor tile. Hold the glasses at a comfortable distance and cover one eye. Move the glasses slowly from side to side, then up and down. If the lines stay straight, the lenses are fine. If the lines wiggle, especially in the center of the lens, try another pair.
Look for impact-resistant lenses.
All sunglasses must meet impact standards set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for safety. No lens is truly unbreakable, but plastic lenses are less likely to shatter when hit by a ball or stone. Polycarbonate plastics, used in many sports sunglasses, are especially strong, but scratch easily. If you buy polycarbonate lenses, choose ones with a scratch-resistant coating.
Use protective eyewear instead of sunglasses for hazardous activities.
If you are going to be engaged in outdoor activities like water or snow skiing that put your eye at risk for injury, don't count on your eyeglasses for protection. Protective eyewear is available with UV protection to shield your eyes from sunburn and glare.
Lens color tinting and polarization are personal preferences.
There's no medical reason to recommend one tint of lens over another. Likewise, while polarized lenses work better at deflecting glare, they're not blocking any more harmful UV light than non-polarized lenses.
Once you have the right sunglasses, make sure you wear them,
especially in the summer when UV levels are at least three times higher than in the winter. Also be sure to wear them when participating in winter sports, particularly at high elevations.