Often truck drivers are more vulnerable to health problems than the average working person. Identifying these conditions and taking advantage of the resources for prevention and treatment can help you to overcome health risks.
Below are common risk factors that cause more severe health problems.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a study showed more than half of the truck drivers surveyed were obese. Some even morbidly obese. To prevent obesity, truckers can modify their eating habits and start eating healthy. Often this means cutting back on fast foods or ‘convenience’ snacks. Bring food from home when possible. Obtaining a refrigerator for your truck where you can keep fresh fruits and vegetables can help curb any cravings for sweets or fast foods.
Because of the sedentary factors of driving for several hours at a time, long-haul truckers tend to have higher blood pressure or hypertension. DOT mandates a limit on blood pressure results on all truck drivers. Your blood pressure must remain under 140/90 either with or without medication. The medical examiner (ME) is required by law to electronically submit their documentation from your physical to the DOT. Truckers can choose to use prescription medication or make lifestyle changes to lower their blood pressure.
If your blood pressure is over 140/90 you can still keep your CDL license; however, you will need to be re-certified between every three months to one year. When your re-certification is due, depends on the severity of your blood pressure results.
The following are symptoms of high blood pressure or hypertension.
- Irregular heartbeat
- Changes in your vision
- Stronger than normal headaches, occurring more often
If you experience nosebleeds, confusion, blood when you urinate, shortness of breath or pounding in your chest, ears or neck, call your doctor or go to an emergency room immediately.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a very common disorder amongst commercial truck drivers. It’s reported that 1 in 4 commercial drivers may be at risk for OSA. This can greatly impair performance resulting in excessive daytime sleepiness. With impaired performance, you are at severe risk for traffic or work-related accidents.
Watch for symptoms that are related to OSA. If you begin to experience them, seek medical attention from your health care provider.
- Loud snoring
- Morning Headaches
- Breathing Cessation During Sleep
- Frequent Urination at Night
- Difficulty Staying Asleep
- Waking Abruptly with Dry Mouth
- Sore Throat
- Shortness of Breath
We know it is a challenge to quit smoking, but luckily there are helpful resources. There are programs tailored to fit your specific needs during the process of quitting. You can always rely on your doctor for expert advice and help point you in the right direction for resources that best fits your needs.
Below are just a few places to start finding resources that offer step-by-step guides and tools to help you kick the habit and perform your owner operator job with great dexterity. This will be especially helpful if you desire to work with a reputed nationwide trucking company such as transportation logistics provider and freight dispatching company Landstar. Good physical health is required at Landstar apart from other qualifications.
There are many other chronic conditions truckers or owner operators face including a variety of mental health problems. Schedule regular visits with your doctor and for more information begin searching your symptoms on WebMD.
Wish you the best of health and a successful owner operator career!