There’s a huge push in the trucking industry to promote wellness and activity because drivers have such sedentary careers. The first step to combating the serious health issues truckers commonly battle with is to learn what you are at risk for and learn what you can do to prevent it. Let’s check out the top medical problems facing truckers.
Top Four Medical Problems Facing Truckers
The statistics are not on your side, drivers! A shocking 73% of truck drivers are overweight with about 50% of them considered obese. That number is too high! Habits need to change, but, it’s not easy. Truck drivers have it exceptionally challenging because they don’t have the same opportunities to exercise as other professions. When you sit and drive all day, it’s hard to not put on weight. By the time drivers get a chance to take a rest, the last thing usually on their mind is working out. However, making a few tiny changes to your daily routine can make a huge difference. Pack healthier meals and snack options and utilize your breaks to get moving. You don’t necessarily have to go into full-force extreme daily workouts but taking a stroll around the parking lot even can do a lot for your metabolism while also providing you with natural energy!
As we mentioned above, obesity causes many serious health problems. For example, people who are overweight are at a higher risk for heart attacks. Because so many truckers struggle with weight and because they encounter many stressful issues throughout their career, they’re highly susceptible to heart issues. You can lower your risk of heart attack by, of course, losing weight. Try to do something active every day, and if you are a smoker, quit. It’s important to know the symptoms of a heart attack. These include chest and arm/jaw/stomach pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, cold sweats and nausea. If you experience this, pull over immediately and call 911.
Lack of Sleep
Sleep is a crucial part of every human’s basic functionality. But for truckers who are behind the wheel of potentially lethal huge steel trailers, it’s important to not skimp on snoozes. Sleep deprivation causes many problems such as high blood pressure (which leads to heart attacks), memory loss, weight fluctuation, and weakened immune systems. Not to mention the danger you put yourself and other drivers you share the road with. Some studies even suggest a drowsy driver is potentially more dangerous than a driver under the influence of some alcoholic beverages! Lack of sleep is a challenge that many truck drivers face, but it all comes down to adjusting to sleeping in the cab and avoiding technology and caffeine when you know it’s soon time for some shut-eye.
Like everyone else, truck drivers are at risk of getting cancer. However, some cancer types are more common than others in the trucking community. First of all, more than half of truckers’ smoke so it’s no big surprise that lung cancer is common. Skin cancer is also very common. I know what you’re thinking. Skin cancer? But yes, as a driver, your face is daily exposed to UV rays. Over time that exposure can really add up. Combat this by wearing a low SPF sunscreen on your face or see about adding a film to your window that can block the sun. Another common cancer that attacks truck drivers is bladder/kidney Cancer. Truckers know when they gotta go…they can’t always go. Decades of prolonged “holding it in” can cause serious problems on your insides. As gross as it is, keep an empty container on hand for emergencies, and this can lower your risk.
For additional tips on how to combat medical problems facing truckers, check out this podcast all about wellness!