DOT Exam and Your Blood Pressure

If you’re preparing to obtain your Commercial Driver’s license, you may already understand what a Department of Transportation exam is, what its purpose is, and even how to prepare.

However, there’s another part of the exam that many people often overlook or simply aren’t aware of– the blood pressure check. We briefly touched on the blood pressure check in our last article on the DOT exam.

But today, we’ll take a deeper dive into what you can expect from the blood pressure check, its intended purpose, in addition to how to prepare.

What and why…

Let’s start with what your blood pressure is and why the check is so essential in the eyes of the exam.

  • First, what your blood pressure is. Your blood pressure is essentially the result of your heart beating and pumping blood around your body—that action results in energy and oxygen that everyone needs. However, it also causes pressure against the sides of your blood vessels, and that’s what we call blood pressure.
  • Second, here’s why it matters so much in the eyes of the exam. If your blood pressure is too high, meaning there’s too much pressure on your blood vessels, the resulting strain on your arteries can put you at an increased risk of having a stroke or heart attack.

That’s bad normally, but it’s worse for CDL drivers, who often operate large vehicles in crowded areas, which means they aren’t the only ones at risk of injury.

How the DOT exam measures your blood pressure…

During the DOT exam, your blood pressure will be measured similarly to any other time. It will start with a cuff on either arm, measuring diastolic pressure and systolic pressure.

  • Diastolic pressure is the bottom number, and it represents the lowest pressure your heart reaches as it’s relaxed, typically in between beats.
  • Systolic pressure is the top number, and it represents the highest pressure there is, usually when your heart beats.

The DOT exam demands that the aspiring driver has a blood pressure of 140/90, or at least somewhere in the range of 140-159/ 90-99. If the DOT exam finds your pressure to be the optimum 140/90, you’ll be granted certification for two years.

However, if it falls to the later ranges that we mentioned, your certification will only last for one year.

If your blood pressure shows other numbers, you may be granted a 3-month license with medication or even be disqualified until such a time when your blood pressure is inside the normal range.

How to prepare…

If you’re worried about your blood pressure, you can use these tips.

  1. Drink a lot of water.
  2. Eat potassium.
  3. Stop unhealthy habits like smoking or drinking.
  4. Do some breathing exercises.
  5. Relax.

If you’re ready to take your DOT Physical and get on the road as soon as possible, set up your DOT Physical Examination with Reliable MD by clicking here.

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