The importance of health screenings for long-haul truck drivers


Taking care of yourself is important at any age and in any profession. But did you know truck drivers—especially long-haul truck drivers (LHTD)—are at an increased risk of certain health conditions?

In 2010, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted a study of 1,670 LHTDs asking about their overall health and diagnosed health conditions.

The research revealed that 69% of LHTDs were obese17% were morbidly obese. The results were staggering when compared to U.S. working adults of which one-third are reported to be obese, and 7% are morbidly obese.

We all know that obesity increases the risk for a host of physical problem including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, stroke, sleep apnea, and more. For a trucker, this is especially upsetting because serious health conditions can disqualify you from getting your medical exam certification (DOT card) and maintaining your commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Not maintaining a healthy lifestyle while you’re on the road can quickly take you off the road.

There are obvious things that are recommended for everyone to help improve your health. Eating healthy, exercising, and not smoking are the ones we hear about all the time. But LHTDs can also be proactive by having an annual health screening performed.

You may think that getting your DOT Medical Exam every other year is sufficient, however regular health exams and tests can help find problems before they start and become larger health concerns. Not only that, annual exams increase your chance for treatment and/or a cure when health issues are diagnosed early.

It’s important to take care of yourself and that you be your own health care advocate. Read about the recommended testing for each age, then take charge of your health so you can keep living the life you love on the road.

This list is not inclusive of all tests, screenings, and exams. Make sure you speak with a medical provider to come up a plan based on your family history and risk factors.

When you’re in your 20s:
  • Annual wellness visit: Blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), physical exam, preventative screening, and counseling
  • Cholesterol screening every 5 years
  • Screening for diabetes, thyroid disease, liver problems, and anemia (if symptoms or family history)
  • Screening for skin cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, and alcohol abuse (depending on risk factors)
  • Men: Testicular cancer screening
  • Women: Pap Smear/Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) test every 3 years
When you’re in your 30s:
  • Annual wellness visit: Blood pressure, BMI, physical exam, preventative screening, and counseling
  • Cholesterol screening every 5 years
  • Screening for diabetes, thyroid disease, liver problems, and anemia (if symptoms or family history)
  • Screening for coronary heart disease, skin cancer, oral cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, and alcohol abuse (depending on risk factors)
  • Vision exam
  • Men: Testicular cancer screening
  • Women: Pap Smear/HPV test every 3 years
When you’re in your 40s:
  • Annual wellness visit: Blood pressure, BMI, physical exam, preventative screening, and counseling
  • Cholesterol screening every 5 years
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) to check for heart disease
  • Screening for thyroid disease, liver problems, and anemia (if symptoms or family history)
  • Diabetes screening every 3 years over the age of 45
  • Screening for coronary heart disease, skin cancer, oral cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, and alcohol abuse (depending on risk factors)
  • Vision exam
  • Men: Testicular and prostate cancer screening
  • Women: Annual mammogram and a Pap Smear/HPV test every 3 years
When you’re in your 50s:
  • Annual wellness visit: ECG, blood pressure, BMI, physical exam, preventative screening, and counseling
  • Cholesterol screening every 5 years
  • Annual screening for coronary heart disease, Type II diabetes, lipid disorders, and depression
  • Screening for skin cancer, oral cancer, lung cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, and alcohol abuse (depending on risk factors)
  • Vision and hearing exams
  • Screening for colon cancer with fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy
  • Men: Testicular and prostate cancer screening
  • Women: Annual mammogram and a Pap Smear/HPV test every 3 years
When you’re in your 60s:
  • Annual wellness visit: ECG, blood pressure, BMI, physical exam, preventative screening, and counseling
  • Annual screening for coronary heart disease, Type II diabetes, lipid disorders, depression, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Coronary heart disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm, and carotid artery ultrasound screening
  • Vision and hearing exams
  • Screening for skin cancer, oral cancer, lung cancer sexually transmitted diseases, and alcohol abuse (depending on risk factors)
  • Colorectal screening based on previous results
  • Men: Testicular and prostate cancer screenings
  • Women: Annual mammogram, Pap Smear/HPV test every 3 years, and bone-density testing at 65 and over
When you’re over 70:
  • Annual wellness visit: ECG, blood pressure, BMI, physical exam, preventative screening, and counseling
  • Screening for lipid disorders, osteoporosis, depression, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Coronary heart disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm, and carotid artery ultrasound screenings
  • Vision and hearing exams
  • Colorectal screening based on previous results. General screening until age 75. Discuss with physician if between 76-85. Screening not recommended over age 85.
  • Screening for skin cancer, oral cancer, lung cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, and alcohol abuse (depending on risk factors)
  • Men: Testicular and prostate cancer screenings
  • Women: Annual mammogram and Pap Smear/HPV test every 3 years
We’d prefer if all you truckers keep yourself healthy while you’re hauling around the things we need, so please consider taking care of yourself and your health. We need you!

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