Are you ready for DVLA medical assessment?

17-05-2018

Truck drivers in UK (and worldwide) have one of the highest rates of high blood pressure, hypertension, diabetes and cholesterol in comparison to the rest of the UK population when comparing age. So if you have high blood pressure, you need to take action.  Good news is that you can control most heart disease risk factors.

Blood pressure (B/P) is the force of blood against the walls of arteries. Blood pressure varies throughout the day depending on activity and emotions. When blood pressure stays elevated over time, it’s called high blood pressure. A diagnosis of high blood pressure is given by a doctor after monitoring blood pressure over a given period of time and it is rarely based on a single reading.

The medical term for high blood pressure is hypertension which is dangerous because it makes the heart work extremely hard and contributes to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, which are the first and third leading causes of UK deaths. High blood pressure can result in other conditions, such as congestive heart failure, kidney disease, and blindness.

Risk factors are conditions or behaviours that increase the chances of developing a disease. When you have more than one risk factor for heart disease, your risk of developing heart disease greatly multiplies.

Risk factors you can control:

  • High blood pressure
  • Abnormal cholesterol                                         •
  • Diabetes
  • Overweight
  • Tobacco use
  • Physical inactivity

Risk factors that are fixed and cannot be controlled:

  •  Age (55 or older for men; 65 or older for women)
  •  Family history of early heart disease (having a father or a brother diagnosed with heart disease before age 55 or having a mother or sister diagnosed before age 65)

A blood pressure level of 140/90 mmHg or higher is considered high. About two-thirds of people over age 65 have high blood pressure.

If your blood pressure is between 120/80 mmHg and 139/89 mmHg, then you have prehypertension. This means that you don’t have high blood pressure now but are likely to develop it in the future unless make lifestyle changes

 

Both numbers in a blood pressure test are important, but for people who are age 50 or older, systolic pressure gives the most accurate diagnosis of high blood pressure. Systolic pressure is the top number in a blood pressure reading. It is high if it is 140 mmHg or above.

Blood pressure is usually measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg) and is recorded as two numbers—systolic pressure (as the heart beats when it contracts) “over” diastolic pressure (as the heart relaxes between beats)—for example, 130/80 mmHg.

Normal blood pressure is a systolic reading of less than 120 or a diastolic reading of less than 80

Prehypertension is a systolic reading of 120 – 139 or a diastolic reading of 80-89

Hypertension is a systolic reading of 140 or higher or a diastolic reading of 90 or higher

 

To reduce hypertension, maintain a healthy lifestyle in your diet (reduced salt) and weight. Ensure your alcohol is in moderation. Most importantly if you have been prescribed drugs continue taking them as directed.

If you need support in reducing your blood pressure, cholesterol and/or blood sugar before your DVLA medical assessment contact me at Driving4health@gmail.com or text/phone 07728410049. I provide a 12-week personalised healthy lifestyle programme designed based on your life. So on adhering and completing you will go to the doctor having reduced your risk of heart disease, feeling better, healthier so you can keep your licence and keep driving.

 

Article written by Toni Hewitt  from Driving4health – Toni has 30 years experience working as a nurse and helping people to prepare for vocational medical assessments. You can contact Toni via email  driving4health@gmail.com

 

 

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