Understanding The Effect Of Your Blood Pressure On Your CDL Eligibility
Every CDL-licensed truck driver on the road, including owner operators, must have a DOT health certification card before they can legally drive. Before you invest in the truck and start looking for owner operator jobs, you should understand how your blood pressure can affect the process. Here's a look at what you should know about hypertension and your DOT health card.
Understanding the Levels of Hypertension
When it comes to your driver health certification, hypertension is broken up into three categories. Each of those categories is handled a little bit differently.
If your blood pressure is between 140/90 and 159/99, you are still eligible for a DOT health card. Unlike the traditional two-year certification period, you may be asked to re-certify every year so that the DOT can keep tabs on your condition.
If your blood pressure is between 160/100 and 179/109, you can still obtain a DOT health card, too. However, you'll be expected to re-certify in three months. If your blood pressure drops below 160/100 in that three months, you might be able to secure a one year certification.
If your blood pressure is 180/110 or higher, you will not be eligible for a DOT health card to become a commercial truck driver.
Exploring The Effect Of Blood Pressure Medication
If you are taking a prescription medication to lower your blood pressure, that doesn't automatically disqualify you. In most cases, your medication isn't considered a factor provided that your blood pressure is stable and below the maximum allowable levels. The DOT permits the use of blood pressure medication on a regular basis to keep your blood pressure stable.
Considering Other Blood Pressure Control Methods
In addition to taking traditional blood pressure medications, there are other measures that you can take to reduce your blood pressure before your DOT physical and beyond.
- Dietary Changes - Make sure that you drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated. This helps to keep your blood pressure balanced. In addition, eat foods rich in potassium and lots of fruits and vegetables. Leafy greens and beets are good options. Reduce your caffeine and salt intake, too.
- Sleep Schedule Adjustments - Getting plenty of rest is important for your body. Make sure that you're getting a good night's sleep every night. This helps to reduce the stress of fatigue on your body.
- Calming Techniques - One of the best things you can do for your blood pressure is to reduce your body's stress levels. Learn to meditate or take up a calming workout plan like yoga to help you release stress and minimize its effect on your blood pressure. Regular exercise in general is important for long-term blood pressure management.
Now that you understand the blood pressure targets you need to hit and how you can manage your blood pressure, you're in a better position to pass your DOT physical and secure your CDL. This puts you one step closer to becoming the owner operator you've been wanting to be.