High Blood Pressure and Truck Driving
If you have high blood pressure, you may be fit to drive as long as you are working to reduce stage 1 or 2 hypertension. Your DOT physical will become part of your driving record and you may be medically certified to drive a truck anywhere from three months to a year depending upon the severity of your high blood pressure.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) have set medical guidelines for blood pressure-related health standards. A truck driver may be medically certified to drive for a two-year period if they have a blood pressure of less than 140 systolic and less than 90 diastolic. That can change if hypertension is detected.
A driver may be medically certified to drive for a one-year period if they have been diagnosed with stage 1 hypertension with a blood pressure of 140-159 systolic and/or a blood pressure of 90-99 diastolic, but certification examinations should be done yearly and each year thereafter should be less than 140/90.
A driver with stage 2 hypertension that has a blood pressure of 160-179 systolic and/or a blood pressure of 100-109 diastolic can be given a one-time certification of three months to reduce their blood pressure to less than or equal to 140/90 and if they demonstrate 14/90, they may be re-certified for a year from the date of the initial exam.
A driver with stage 3 hypertension and a blood pressure of 180 systolic and/or 110 diastolic is disqualified. They may not be qualified, even temporarily, until their blood pressure is less than 140/90. At that time the driver may be certified for 6 months and every six months thereafter if at recheck the blood pressure is less than 140/90.
You may be prescribed medication to reduce your blood pressure, while others may try to change their lifestyle to get things under control. Both methods are acceptable if your blood pressure is brought down to the 140/90 threshold. Recertification for those with blood pressure over 140/90 is yearly rather than every two years.
The symptoms of high blood pressure include irregular heartbeat, tiredness, changes in vision, severe headaches, nosebleeds, confusion, bloody urine, shortness of breath, and a pounding in your neck, ears, or chest.
It’s important to keep your blood pressure in check to avoid a higher risk of heart disease and other serious health conditions. Any level of hypertension can increase damage to your arteries resulting in life-threatening bodily damage. Poor circulation can damage blood vessels leading to brain damage, stroke, and kidney damage or failure. Your eyes can be affected if there is damage to blood vessels, making it hard to be medically certified to drive a truck.
We recommend addressing medical concerns before you consider your career in trucking. Speak with your doctor about high blood pressure concerns and work to ever improve your heart health!