Taking your CDL Medical exam is something most drivers don’t look forward to. It’s something that insurance won’t cover and the fact that it’s federally mandated doesn’t help either. However, there is a good reason why the FMCSA mandates the DOT exam. It ensures that our nations drivers who keep the flow of industry moving, stay healthy while on the road. Big rigs can do some damage, especially with the way regular drivers on the road act these days. That’s why it’s important that those who transport the world’s goods and services remain healthy.
The CDL Physical Exam should be looked at from a different perspective. Instead of it being something that we need to get out of the way, we should look at it as an opportunity to keep our bodies healthy as possible. If we don’t actively monitor and maintain our health, our quality of life can drastically decrease, leaving us with little energy to handle our day. Though a CDL physical exam is required, it is also an opportunity to see what areas you can improve in and get expert medical advice. It is a physical exam after all, and a skilled medical professional will also see it this way.
Sometimes it can be confusing to know what your examiner is checking for. Here are five questions you should ask your DOT Certified Medical Examiner (CME):
1. How is my blood pressure? Blood pressure is a good indicator of cardiovascular health. While there are other factors such as Cholesterol, vascular disease and genetics, blood pressure monitoring can be the way to ward off hypertension and catch it before it becomes dangerously high or causes harm.
2. How are my sugar levels? During a dot medical exam, a urine dip stick is used to detect if there is sugar present in the urine. This is a leading indicator of diabetes, an increasingly common condition where the pancreas either isn’t producing enough insulin or our bodies are becoming less responsive to the insulin that it is still producing. Insulin is what allows are bodies to utilize the calories we consume. While the urine dipstick isn’t enough to tell you the severity of your sugar levels, some medical offices (such as DOT Express), offers a rapid HgA1c reading with just a small amount of blood. This can tell you how far off your blood sugar levels are from optimal, and allows for tracking your progress. Remember that this urine test is not the DOT drug test and is strictly screening for sugar levels in your urine, (as well as other markers, like blood and protein for various other medical conditions).
3. How is my hearing? While most DOT CME’s will administer a forced whisper test, you can ask to check your hearing with an Audiometer. While it takes some extra time, it does give a more accurate measurement for hearing.
4. How is my Weight? There is a direct correlation with weight and overall health. Asking your provider for some insights into your Body Mass Index (BMI) can help in improving your diet, exercise and eating routine. Having a high BMI, also puts you at greater risk for Obstructive Sleep Apnea; a condition closely watched by the FMCSA.
5. Was there anything detected during the physical exam? The CME will perform an overall physical such as feeling for abdominal masses, listening for heart murmurs, and many other physical exam findings. If you had any concerns about this, the exam is a great time to bring this up.
These five questions are a great starting point to address health issues on the spot, or address with your primary care physician.
Remember to not drink coffee, energy drinks, or pre-workout before your physical exam. As they may skew the results, giving an abnormal reading. Take care of yourself, you matter and so does your health. Stay safe out there.