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					TIPS FOR PASSING YOUR DOT PHYSICAL The DOT physical for many truckers is an inconvenience, but for many other drivers it’s a major hurdle. Understandably, commercial drivers are concerned because without that card, drivers would be out of a job. As a doctor who does a lot of physicals, I want to make a few suggestion to hopefully make your next physical less stressful and faster. Bring papers I recognize your goal is not only to pass this physical but to spend as little time in the doctor’s office as possible.  Begin by gathering any reports or documents that might be helpful.  Diabetic truckers may need to bring in a copy of your blood sugar results or hemoglobin A1C (a test that shows what the average blood sugar level over the past 3 months).  Drivers with heart problems, like heart attacks, may need a copy of their last stress test report and/or a letter of recommendation from their heart doctor can be a big help too.  Truckers with sleep apnea should bring in a copy of their last sleep test.  If you’re not sure what reports to bring in, call the doctor’s office before hand, speak to the nurse or other assistant and ask them.  If you have any kind of unusual or special medical condition keep a copy of your records with you.  This will help things go more smoothly for you. For example, if you have a heart murmur (an abnormal heart sound), having the papers explaining the type of condition and what effect it may have may make a big difference in your passing and how fast you pass.  This is also helpful for those surprise physicals. With your papers always handy, you are always ready if your boss sends you to the doctor’s office with little or no notice.  Of course, if you have medical waiver from the DOT, keep a copy of that with you so you can show examiner. 1 week before your physical Salt: Beginning a week before the physical, you may want to consciously cut down on your salt intake, if high blood pressure is a problem for you. That will help stabilize your blood pressure rather than make it abnormally high. Avoid adding salt to your food and especially to foods you know already have a lot salt (potato chips, pretzels, French fries for example). In many people (but not all) salt tends to increase blood pressure, which may put you above your desired level and above the DOT’s blood pressure guideline. Cutting back on caffeine and smoking can also help improve your blood pressure situation. Don’t drink caffeine or smoke a cigarette just before your physical. That can immediately raise your blood pressure! Blood Pressure medicine: If you take blood pressure medicine, make sure you haven’t run out of medicine and that you remember to take your medicine when you are supposed

to. If you have forgotten your medicine, most doctors recommend taking it as soon as you can is the best choice (if in doubt, talk to your doctor). If you’re late taking your medicine, try to delay or reschedule your physical so that your medicine has a chance to work. If you can’t reschedule, make sure you tell the examiner doing your physical. If your blood pressure is too high, ask if they can re-check it later or maybe the following day. Sick: If you are more than a little sick the day of your physical, try to reschedule the physical rather than risk failing. For example, if you have a full blown case of the flu with a lot of coughing, fever, chills and all the other miseries that go along with it, ask your boss and/or company to delay the physical for a few days when you will feel much better. In situations like this, having some time left on your old card before it expires helps a lot! Of course, following these suggestions doesn’t guarantee that you will pass the physical but they are good things to keep in mind. Sometimes we find ourselves doing things that are counter to good practices and may actually make our health worse just before physicals. Be sure to check with your doctor before making any changes that might affect your health. Remember, the best way to pass your physical is to take the time and make the daily effort to stay healthy. Dr. David Durand Company Care Lincoln, Nebraska