In an effort to promote safety on the roads, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requires all commercial vehicle drivers to pass a DOT physical exam at least every 24 months. (You might need this physical even more frequently if yours shows any worrisome trends that need monitoring, like high blood pressure.)
A DOT physical exam is comprehensive, meaning that your physical health, medical history, and current medication list are thoroughly reviewed and evaluated by your physician. You also complete a urine test. Then your doctor completes the paperwork required for you to report to the DOT.
You can’t have just anyone perform your DOT physical, either. Only qualified medical professionals with specialized certification are licensed to give you the physical you need. Fortunately, Timothy Scott Beck, MD, meets the requirements and offers these physicals right here at Life Point Medical in Clayton, Georgia.
Dr. Beck knows what your DOT physical means for your job. So he and our team put together some tips that may help ease your stress heading into your physical, which helps you get lower blood pressure readings. Here are some things that can make the process easier:
Know what to expect
Quite a few rules and regulations govern the guidelines regarding your mental and physical ability to drive a commercial vehicle. Knowing what’s expected of you can help prepare for your physical. Your employer should be able to provide you with information regarding DOT health requirements. If they can’t, the information is also available online through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Manage existing conditions beforehand
If you live with diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), or another diagnosed medical condition, check in with Dr. Beck before your physical. Together, you can ensure these issues are as managed as possible heading into your appointment.
High blood pressure doesn’t necessarily disqualify you from driving a commercial vehicle, for example. But if your blood pressure reads more than 140/90, you’ll have to bring it down to pass the physical.
A few months before your DOT physical, see Dr. Beck so you can adjust your medications, diet, and activity levels as needed to ensure your high blood pressure or other medical conditions are under control.
Get your paperwork in order
If you have a medical condition that could interfere with your ability to drive, the DOT requires documentation showing that you’re under the care of a healthcare professional and, in some cases, getting treatment for that condition.
For example, if you have a history of heart attack or cardiac bypass surgery, you’ll need a letter from your cardiologist saying that your condition doesn’t prevent you from safely driving a commercial vehicle.
To prevent delays in processing your DOT physical results, get this paperwork in order and bring it with you to your appointment. And don’t forget to put together an accurate list of your current medications and health history for your DOT file.
Rest up, get moving, and hydrate
If you’re stressed about your DOT physical or the results, your blood pressure levels can elevate. To counteract that, try to exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and drink plenty of fluids for several weeks before your DOT physical. It’s a good idea to practice these healthy habits all the time, but they’re especially helpful when you’re facing your physical.
Your DOT physical doesn’t have to be a source of stress. For care from a doctor who will partner with you, don’t hesitate to call Dr. Beck and our team at Life Point Medical or book your appointment online today.