High Blood Pressure is a major factor which affects truck drivers health. It can cost them their jobs or prevent them from being hired as truck drivers. It affects the heart, blood vessels, brain, kidneys and eyes. It can cause a heart attack, congestive heart failure or kidney failure. It can prevent a commercial truck driver from obtaining the required medical certification. Drivers must have a Department of Transportation (DOT) Medical Exam and Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) certification. This exam must be conducted by a licensed medical examiner. Drivers cannot work as commercial drivers without this required DOT medical card. DOT medical cards are good for two years unless the driver has a medical condition which requires regular monitoring. High blood pressure is often called hypertension which is the medical term for high blood pressure.
Commercial truck drivers are required to have satisfactory blood pressure levels before they can obtain a Commercial Drivers License (CDL). Additionally, they must have it checked again prior to the expiration of their medical card if they want to renew their license. Blood pressure is considered to be high if it is 140/90. Ideally a truck drivers levels should be 140/90 or less. A driver with levels higher than 149/90 will be granted a temporary medical certification for up to one year. If levels are greater than 180/110 the driver cannot drive until the levels are below 140/90. The medical examiner will be required to certify that the driver is medically able to drive.
Hypertension is often thought to be stress related. Actually, it is a symptom of a physiological imbalance in the body often caused by a biological condition. One common biological cause is a deficiency of potassium. Potassium is a crucial mineral needed by our bodies which is absolutely necessary to the healthy function of nerves, cells and membranes. Potassium is also necessary to restore healthy blood pressure balance in the body. Additionally, potassium has the ability to pump sodium out of the body’s cells and reduce body fluid. When we become deficient in potassium we may get symptoms which will eventually be diagnosed as high blood pressure.
Oftentimes, many truck drivers health suffers due to their reliance on the consumption of the typical food available at most truck stops. Furthermore, many truckers ignore the consequences of their bad food choices. Fortunately, most truck stops offer healthy food options. Simple dietary changes in a truckers diet can make a great difference in their overall health including their blood pressure. Choosing potassium rich foods would be a great addition to a truckers diet.
A higher intake of potassium may help prevent high blood pressure and strokes. Our bodies require twice as much potassium and salt. The Committee on Recommended daily Allowances sets the estimated safe and adequate amount of dietary potassium at levels between 1.9 grams to 5.6 grams. It is easy to increase the amount of potassium in the body with food. Fruit and vegetables contain large levels of potassium. One banana, a cup of spinach or a baked potato eaten daily contains enough potassium for most people. Other good sources of potassium are citrus fruits, raisins, dried apricots, dried dates, dried figs, avocados, acorn squash, cabbage, broccoli, kidney beans and cantaloupe. One baked potato contains 838 milligrams of potassium. A licensed dietitian can help you with proper food choices.
Low levels of potassium can be caused by factors other than diet. Medications such as cortisone, high blood pressure medications (which are diuretics) and birth control pills decrease potassium levels. Diuretics are known to deplete the body of potassium. Alcohol is also a diuretic and its consumption can also decrease potassium levels. Exercise can contribute to low potassium levels because of increased sweating. If you are taking blood pressure medication, be sure to check with your physician prior to significantly increasing your intake of fresh fruits or other high potassium foods. It is very important that you regular monitor your levels and follow your physicians advice relating to treatment.