Lowering Your Blood Pressure Short Term: Before Your Dot Physical
There are a number of things you can do to keep your blood pressure low in the days leading up to your DOT physical. But most of these “quick fixes” are things that should generally be applied long-term also in the interest of good health. That being said, if your DOT physical is coming up and you need some tips that could lower your BP quickly, below are some ideas that may help:
Can You Pass The Dot Physical With High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is measured with two figures. The systolic blood pressure is the force at which your heart pumps blood around the body while the diastolic pressure is the pressure in your blood vessels between heartbeats. Both are measured in millimeters of mercury mm Hg.
You can pass your physical with above-normal blood pressure, but if your blood pressure is too high, you will not pass.
If your blood pressure is normal, you will pass with no conditions.
If your blood pressure is high, between 140-159 systolic and/or 90-99 mm Hg diastolic, it is described as Stage 1 high blood pressure. If your blood pressure is in this range, you will pass but you will be required to take the DOT physical annually.
If your blood pressure is between 160-179 systolic and/or 100-109 diastolic it is considered Stage 2 high blood pressure, and you will only be granted a 3-month certificate in which you will be asked to take action to reduce your blood pressure down to 140/90 or better.
If your blood pressure is higher than 180 systolic and 110 diastolic, you are considered Stage 3 high blood pressure, are high risk, and you will not pass the DOT physical. At Stage 3, no certification will be granted. To continue driving a commercial motor vehicle, you must reduce your blood pressure to or below 140/90. Should they do so they will be approved to drive for six months before they have to get another physical. The biannual checks will continue provided the figures are maintained.
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Even though you may not have many opportunities to drink because of your job, when youre off-the-clock, you shouldnt binge on alcohol. One drinking session can increase your blood pressure temporarily, putting unnecessary stress on your heart. Repeated binge drinking is a precursor to hypertension.
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Drink A Full Glass Of Water 45 Minutes Before Your Exam
If you can remove all types of beverages except for water for a week before your DOT physical, you will have a better chance of lowering your blood pressure. If this is not in the cards for you, then a full glass of water 45 minutes before you take your test will help flush your system, prepare you for your urine sample, and lower your sodium levels.
How About White Coat Syndrome
The term white coat syndrome or white coat hypertension have been used for years to indicate if you have high blood pressure readings only when you are In a medical setting. This is something that may be more prevalent with truck drivers and others who must qualify to work, and there exists stress relating to having to meet the minimum requirements to drive and work.
From a medical standpoint, it typically means that there is evidence that your blood pressure has tested normal at home, or maybe at the pharmacy, but is typically higher when tested at the doctors office or during your DOT medical exam.
Your blood pressure is not fixed it rises and falls throughout the day in response to what you are doing and what is happening around you. White coat syndrome is a response to being nervous about having your blood pressure tested, although a person does not always notice they are nervous. A driver may actually have their blood pressure rise as high as much as 30 points if very anxious. It is therefore important for a driver who is anxious about their medical exam to know what to do to help manage this before going in to their exam.
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What Truck Drivers Need To Know About Lowering Blood Pressure
- Truck drivers with high blood pressure can be medically certified to drive, but will have to lower their BP to under 140/90.
- Drivers with high blood pressure who have been medically certified will be required to re-certify at least once each year rather than every 2 years.
- Blood pressure medication is an FMCSA acceptable method for BP control, but there are also lifestyle methods that will help drivers stay healthy and fit for driving.
- Small changes in diet, weight, exercise, and sleep patterns can help lower blood pressure both short and long-term.
- People with high blood pressure should always consult with their doctor before undergoing any extreme diet or lifestyle changes.
Tests For High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure usually has no symptoms. The only sure way to tell that you have it is to measure it with a device called a sphygmomanometer. It has a gauge and a rubber cuff that’s placed around your arm or leg and inflated.
The person taking your blood pressure wraps the cuff around your upper arm. Some cuffs go around the forearm or wrist, but often, they’re not as accurate.
Your doctor or nurse will use a stethoscope to listen for the appearance and disappearance of sound produced by the pulse in your elbow region. That’s how the systolic and diastolic blood pressures are determined.
Theyâll inflate the cuff to a pressure higher than your systolic blood pressure, and it will tighten around your arm. Then, they’ll release it. As the cuff deflates, the first sound they hear through the stethoscope is the systolic blood pressure. It sounds like a whooshing noise. The point where this noise goes away marks the diastolic blood pressure.
In a blood pressure reading, the systolic number always comes first, and then the diastolic number.
Having your blood pressure measured is painless and takes just a few minutes.
Blood pressure is classified as follows by the American Heart Association:
Tests may be ordered by your health care provider to check for causes of high blood pressure and to assess any organ damage from high blood pressure or its treatment. These tests may include the following:
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What Happens If I Do Not Treat High Blood Pressure
Things will most likely go from bad to worse. Even Stage 1 hypertension , if suffered for prolonged periods of time can have an adverse effect on your health. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to stroke by damaging and weakening your brains blood vessels, causing them to narrow, rupture or leak. It can also cause blood blots to form in the arteries leading to your brain, blocking blood flow leading to a stroke.
In addition to stroke, uncontrolled high blood pressure puts more pressure on your heart and kidneys, leading to problems in these areas. Sexual dysfunction in men has often been linked to uncontrolled high blood pressure.
Tips To Measure Your Blood Pressure Correctly
To determine whether you have hypertension, a medical professional will take a blood pressure reading. How you prepare for the test, the position of your arm, and other factors can change a blood pressure reading by 10% or more. That could be enough to hide high blood pressure, start you on a drug you don’t really need, or lead your doctor to incorrectly adjust your medications.
National and international guidelines offer specific instructions for measuring blood pressure. If a doctor, nurse, or medical assistant isn’t doing it right, don’t hesitate to ask him or her to get with the guidelines.
Here’s what you can do to ensure a correct reading:
Don’t drink a caffeinated beverage or smoke during the 30 minutes before the test.
Sit quietly for five minutes before the test begins.
During the measurement, sit in a chair with your feet on the floor and your arm supported so your elbow is at about heart level.
The inflatable part of the cuff should completely cover at least 80% of your upper arm, and the cuff should be placed on bare skin, not over a shirt.
Don’t talk during the measurement.
Have your blood pressure measured twice, with a brief break in between. If the readings are different by 5 points or more, have it done a third time.
For more on getting your blood pressure under control, buy Controlling Your Blood Pressure, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.
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How To Overcome White Coat Hypertension
Does going to the doctor just seriously freak you out? Like to the point where your palms are sweaty and you can feel your heart racing, even though you know youre in great hands and likely dont have anything to be worrying about?
While we hate to hear that because weyour physiciansseriously want you to be comfortable, we can assure you that youre not alone and that what youre feeling when you step into our offices is more common than you might think.
In fact, that sudden rise in blood pressure you experience when you go to the doctor is so common, it actually has a name: White Coat Hypertension or White Coat Syndrome. Its an anxiety-induced blood pressure spike while in a medical environment when high blood pressure is not otherwise an issue for the patient.
Weve gathered some tips you can try to keep calm and overcome your White Coat Hypertension, but first, allow us to explain what it is, what could be causing the syndrome, and why it might be a bigger deal than you light think.
Blood Pressure Requirement For Dot Physical Exam
One-year DOT medical certification: a maximum of 140-159 points and a minimum of 90-99 points. This is, however, stage 1 hypertension, and the driver should seek treatment to get their blood pressure down.
DOT medical certification for two years: blood pressure less than 140/90
Temporary DOT certification for three months: with a peak number of 160-179 and a bottom number of 100-109. Blood pressure medication may be suggested, and the drivers blood pressure may be rechecked for a one-year certification once it has decreased.
When a persons blood pressure is 180/110 or above, he or she cannot obtain a DOT medical certification. This is referred to as stage three hypertension. The physician may suggest treatment alternatives, and the driver may be retested for a six-month accreditation at a later date.
If a person has type 1 or type 2 diabetes or renal disease, their blood pressure must be treated more than 130/80. These drivers have a greater chance of developing heart disease.
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Who Can Have High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can affect anyone. These risk factors increase your chance of developing the condition:
- Family history: Your close relatives with high blood pressure increase your risk since it is often a genetic condition.
- Age: The elderly are more at risk for high blood pressure as blood vessels gradually lose some of their elastic quality with time
- Sex: Up to the age of 64, men are more likely to get high blood pressure than women. The opposite is true for ages 65 and above.
- Race: African-Americans have an elevated risk of high blood pressure.
- Kidney disease: This condition is tied to an increase in blood pressure.
Reduce Your Sodium Intake
Reducing salt in your diet can go along ways toward improving your health and reducing pressure on your arteries. Sodium affects different people in different ways. Doctors typically recommend limiting sodium intake to 1,500 mg or less a day for adults.
Read the food labels of the products you buy and consider purchasing low sodium alternatives. Eat less processed foods and more whole foods. They contain less salt.
Instead of adding salt, flavor your food with herbs and spices. Your palette will adjust over time.
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Wait For A Few Minutes
Waiting for a few minutes after getting in the proper position lets you rest and relax before taking your blood pressure. Lark has tips on the correct position, such as placing your arm on a flat surface with the upper arm at heart level, keeping your legs uncrossed, and sitting upright on a chair with a back.
Causes Of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure builds slowly over time. This is one reason you may not notice your symptoms. Unhealthy lifestyle choices like poor diet and a lack of exercise are factors that impact your blood pressure.
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Different Types Of Blood Pressure Monitor
You might come across some different types of blood pressure monitor. For example, some GP surgeries and hospitals have a large machine that allows you to measure your blood pressure yourself. You sit or stand in front of the machine and place your arm or hand inside. You wait for a minute or two while it measures your blood pressure, then your number will be displayed on a screen, and it might give you a print out with your numbers on.
How Can I Lower My Blood Pressure On The Day Of My Medical Exam
Blood pressure has long been a source of stress for the truck driver. It is frequently referred to as the silent killer by many of us who work in health care. If you suffer high blood pressure it is important that it is controlled and managed. This can be done through natural means such as with exercises, diet and weight loss. It may also be accomplished through medical management such as with the prescription of blood pressure medications. Whatever way you choose, the blood pressure on the day of your exam must still be below 140/90 in order to certify without delay. Lets first take a look at some basic information about blood pressure before getting into managing it on the day of your exam.
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How To Lower Blood Pressure
There are lots of things you can do to lower your blood pressure.
If your doctor has given you blood pressure medication, take it as prescribed. However, you’ll also need to follow a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with hypertension, following these tips will be good for your blood pressure and good for your heart.
Stopping smoking is a great thing you can do for your blood pressure and your heart health.
Ask your doctor or nurse for help.
Phone Quitline 0800 778 778, or visit quit.org.nz for information and support.
Eat more heart-healthy foods and less salt
What you put into your body can make a big difference to your blood pressure.
Eat a wide variety of heart-healthy foods like:
- whole grains
Read more about the benefits of exercise.
Researchers are still trying to understand the exact link between stress and long-term high blood pressure. However being stressed contributes to other risk factors like poor diet and drinking more alcohol.
You can’t always remove the sources of stress in your life. But here are some things you can do to manage them.
- Enjoy exercise every day, like taking a walk.
- Take a break for yourself.
- Get 7-8 hours plus sleep each night.
- Talk about how you are feeling.
- Try relaxation music or breathing exercises.
How To Prepare For Dot Physical Examination
- 24 hours before your scheduled DOT physical, abstain from energy drinks and coffee.
Caffeinated beverages have the potential to elevate your blood pressure, resulting in permanent restriction or disqualification. For example, if your blood pressure rises over 120/80 the findings of your DOT health check will be negative. For this prepare by abstaining from caffeinated beverages and stimulants such as coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks as well as some cold and allergy medicines.
- Reduce your salt consumption for one week before your DOT test. Excessive salt consumption may increase blood pressure. Processed foods, salty meats such as beef, sausages, chips, and canned products are the primary sources of salt. These are the meals you should avoid a week before your DOT physical to avoid developing high blood pressure.
- Get a good night sleep and rise early to avoid feeling hurried. Ensure that you have a decent nights sleep before your DOT physical to ensure that you feel calm. If you arrive at the facility feeling hurried, weary or even exhausted this may have a significant impact on your health and blood pressure.
- Avoid large meals before your DOT physical. This is critical, even more so for people who have diabetes. A big meal before your DOT physical results in sugar overflowing into your urine test, which may result in an abnormal urinalysis. As a result, consume something light and nutritious.
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Taking Your Own Blood Pressure
To get more accurate readings of your blood pressure, your doctor may ask you to record your blood pressure at home and at work with your own automated blood pressure monitor.
Doing so can help determine if treatment is working, or if your condition is getting worse.
The American Heart Association recommends an automatic, cuff-style upper arm monitor for at-home use.
Before measuring your blood pressure, do not smoke, drink caffeinated beverages, or exercise for at least 30 minutes before the test. Rest for at least five minutes before the measurements and sit still with your back straight and supported. Feet should be flat on the floor and not crossed. Your arm should also be supported on a flat surface like a table with the upper arm at heart level.
Follow the instructions that came with your monitor or are provided by your healthcare provider.
Take readings at the same time every day and take two to three each time about a minute apart and record your results.
Finally, make sure not to take measurements over clothing.
Additional reporting by Ashley Welch