Driving for a career means there are DOT blood pressure guidelines that must be met. Without meeting those requirements, you won’t be able to be on the road for your career.
What is a DOT Physical?
The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires a physical examination for anyone who drives a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) whose occupation can impact the safety of an employee or the public. Only a Certified Medical Examiner can perform a DOT physical, with the exception of veterans. Veterans can receive an exam at a Veteran’s Administration (VA) hospital.
A DOT physical includes
- Blood pressure measurement
- General physical exam
Blood pressure is an important part of DOT physical requirements. High blood pressure has few outward symptoms but can cause serious complications. A driver that has maintained healthy blood pressure will ensure their own health and safety, as well as the safety of those around them.
However, these requirements can be beneficial to anyone in any profession. Keeping a normal blood pressure level can reduce a person’s risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. It will improve overall well-being.
DOT Physical Blood Pressure Requirements
These guidelines are outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs).
- Two-Year DOT medical certification: blood pressure under 140/90
- One-year DOT medical certification: a top number of 140-159 and a bottom number of 90-99. However, this is stage 1 hypertension and the driver should seek to lower their blood pressure.
- Three-month temporary DOT certification: a top number of 160-179 and a bottom number of 100-109. Blood pressure medication may be recommended and the driver can be tested again for a one-year certification when blood pressure has lowered.
A person is unable to receive a DOT medical certification when blood pressure reads 180/110 or higher. This is considered stage 3 hypertension. The physician may offer treatment options and the driver may be tested again at a later time to get a six-month certification.
An individual with type 1 or type 2 diabetes or kidney disease need to receive treatment if their blood pressure is over 130/80. These drivers are at a higher risk of heart disease.
How to Lower Your Blood Pressure Before Your DOT Physical to Meet the DOT Blood Pressure Guidelines
- Eat a healthy diet, including plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Cut down on salt.
- Eat foods rich in potassium such as beets, bananas, potatoes, spinach, watermelon, lentils, and avocados.
- Include more calcium in your diet. Eat low-fat dairy products, broccoli, kale, almonds and tofu.
- Eat magnesium-rich foods, like avocados, nuts, legumes, seeds, whole grains, tofu, and dark chocolate
- Manage your cholesterol by avoiding LDL (bad) cholesterol like deep-fried foods, packaged pastries, or foods with trans fat. Eat plenty of HDL (good) cholesterol such as olive oil, nuts, legumes, fatty fish.
- Exercise regularly.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Quit smoking or tobacco use.
- Limit alcohol intake.
- Limit caffeine intake.
- Manage stress.