Spending long hours behind the wheel can cause health complications to creep in. The sedentary lifestyle of being a truck driver, paired with stress, an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise, can lead to hypertension. Taking this condition seriously is crucial to protecting your health and work.
Federal law requires a low blood pressure
As a truck driver, having hypertension does not just put your health at risk, but it could also endanger you and others on the road. High blood pressure increases the likelihood of experiencing a stroke or heart attack and can cause symptoms like dizziness or fainting. Managing your condition is not only important for your health, but it is also a must for you to continue driving.
Generally, the law requires that you maintain a normal blood pressure range of 140/90 or lower to receive or maintain commercial driver certification. Hypertension can shorten your certification period and require you to undertake more frequent health checks.
Additionally, a very high blood pressure reading of 180/110 could disqualify you from driving. You may not be able to drive until you reduce your blood pressure.
Tips for lowering blood pressure
Truck drivers are not strangers to hypertension. The good news is that you can control the condition with or without medication. Even small lifestyle changes could make a big difference in your health.
Here are just a few ways to reduce your blood pressure naturally:
- Exercise regularly: The American Heart Association suggests engaging in moderate to intense physical activity for at least 150 hours every week. That comes out to less than 30 minutes of exercise daily, which you can squeeze in before or after your shift.
- Reduce caffeine intake: Caffeine intake can raise your blood pressure. Giving up sodas and coffee in favor of water could benefit your heart significantly.
- Get enough sleep: Sleep deprivation can increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases while impairing your ability to drive safely. Maintaining a sleep schedule and practicing other good sleeping habits are a good start.
- Eat healthier: Eating healthy is challenging when you have a busy schedule. Planning your meals in advance can help reduce food prep time and allow you to keep track of what you are eating.
The stress and exhaustion of being a commercial truck driver can take a toll on your health over time. It may eventually force you to change careers. If you developed high blood pressure and related heart conditions because of your duties, you may qualify for workers’ compensation. It may help cover the amount you spend on medical bills and travel due to your condition.