Can High Blood Pressure Affect Your CDL?

High blood pressure is a concern for millions of Americans, but for truckers, it’s not only a health issue, it’s also a factor that affects your truck driving career.

We all have blood flowing through our bodies (obviously!), but the rate and pressure at which the blood flows can change dramatically. The measurement of this pressure is what we call “blood pressure” (pretty simple, huh?), and it can have a major impact on our long-term health.

You can actually think of blood pressure the same way you think of tire pressure: if it is too high, it can cause unneeded stress and result in things not working right.

Healthy Truckers: A Look at Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure | Truckers
Image "Blood Pressure Check" via Flickr, by Army Medicine, CC BY 2.0

Taking a person’s blood pressure is a pretty simple process for anyone trained in the medical field. It’s conducted the same way on children as it is on the elderly, and while we won’t get into the specific numbers in this article, just know that keeping your blood pressure down is important for your health as well as your ability to be a trucker. If you have any concerns about your health, we suggest you seek medical advice and have your blood pressure checked by a professional who can fully educate you about your reading.

What Effects Can It Have for People?
There are many serious health issues associated with high blood pressure. First of all, you are at a much higher risk of heart disease if you have high blood pressure. If you have any family history of heart attacks or any medical issue with your heart, a high blood pressure count only multiplies the problem. High blood pressure can also cause aneurysms, brain damage, impairment, strokes, and kidney failure. Truckers should also know that high blood pressure can damage your eyes, making it more difficult to get a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Getting a CDL Certification with High Blood Pressure
With all the risk factors, there should be enough cause for concern to make you pay attention to your blood pressure, but truckers have even more reason to worry. Specifically, you are at risk for losing your CDL. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has made blood pressure a high priority because it can increase your risk for numerous health complications; complications that could crop up when you are driving a truck.

If you have high blood pressure, you will need to be re-certified more often than healthy drivers. While the DOT has specific guidelines, your readings become part of your medical record and some companies may deny employment because of high blood pressure.

Tips for Lowering Blood Pressure
Working towards low blood pressure is a great choice no matter what your career. The first step you can take is simply moving more. Take frequent walks, use the stairs instead of the elevator, and get at least a half-hour of moderate exercise every day.

You’ve probably heard it before, but it bears repeating: if you smoke, try to quit or cut back. Heavy alcohol consumption and high amounts of caffeine or salt can also lead to high blood pressure.

The Mayo Clinic recommends the DASH plan to help reduce blood pressure. It stands for Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension, and it basically centers around whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products.

You don’t have to completely renovate your lifestyle, but with a few adjustments, you can be a healthier, more successful trucker.

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Last modified on Monday, 11 June 2018 10:17