Now that I’m back presenting at on site driver ordinations, one question that still comes up from new drivers is not understanding how elevated blood pressure readings can take you out of service.
Think of your blood pressure like reading your truck’s engine gauges — it tells you if something abnormal is happening or is about to happen.
So, you ask: What exactly does blood pressure measure?
The top number, known as “systolic pressure,” refers to the pressure inside the artery when the heart squeezes to pump blood through the body. The lower number, called “diastolic pressure,” refers to the pressure inside the artery when the heart is relaxed and filling with blood.
Both the systolic and diastolic numbers are important when identifying potential issues as elevated pressure readings.
Thanks to advancements in technology, there are several portable travel blood-pressure monitoring units that are reliable. Much like maintaining your trucking equipment, PM is best. (In this case, PM means “personal maintenance.” A good rule to follow is occasionally check your blood pressure against a manual reading.
What are the benefits of lowering blood pressure?
Elevated blood pressure can cause hypertension. In turn, long-term, uncontrolled hypertension can increase your risk for stroke, heart attack, heart failure and kidney disease by increasing the workload on your heart and blood vessels. Having other risk factors for cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) disease adds to your overall risk.
The three major controllable risk factors for cardiovascular disease are:
- High blood pressure;
- High blood cholesterol; and
The presence of any one of these factors increases your risk of cardiovascular disease by about 30%.
If you have two of these factors, your risk for cardiovascular disease is three times as great. If you have all three risk factors, you have seven times the risk.
Other risk factors for cardiovascular disease include age, diabetes, family history of early heart disease, obesity, physical inactivity, insulin resistance, elevated lipids and your individual health history.
High blood pressure requires serious attention and treatment to keep under control.
You can prevent future problems by understanding your condition, making lifestyle changes, taking medication as prescribed and having your blood pressure checked regularly.
Always consult your doctor for support. In addition, engaging the help of a professional CDL health coach is always recommended.
Known as The Trucker Trainer, Bob Perry has played a critical role in the paradigm shift of regulatory agencies, private and public sector entities, and consumers to understand the driver health challenge. Perry can be reached at [email protected].
Bob Perry has spent nearly the past four decades on a mission to educate professional drivers and share life-changing products and services to help them live healthier lives while on the road. Recognized throughout the transportation industry, from bus drivers to over-the-road professional drivers, Bob Perry has played an important role in creating a paradigm shift helping regulatory agencies, private and public sector entities, and consumers understand the current health challenges of the professional driver. He has participated as a wellness advocate in several roundtable discussions, large audience groups and small forums as well as going “curbside” through a national truck stop tour.
Bob’s articles have been featured in The Trucker and a number of other national transportation industry publications and is the host of a weekly wellness call produced by Rolling Strong. Bob has been a regular guest on RedEye Radio and Land-Line Radio, and is often an invited guest on Sirius radio shows. He has been featured in the New York Times, Men’s Health Magazine, Drug Store News, American Road Magazine, WSJ, NPR, ABC National Radio, as well as hundreds of daily newspapers. He has appeared on television news shows across the nation, including a featured TV segment on ABC NightLine News.