A new study between researchers in Minnesota and truck drivers in Wisconsin looks to tackle hypertension. Better known as high blood pressure, it is one of the biggest threats to America’s health.
High blood pressure can have dire effects on many parts of the human body. It can lead to strokes, blindness, heart attacks, and a slew of other universally detested health issues. According to the CDC, almost one third of U.S. adults over the age of 20 have high blood pressure with another third at a very high risk. Also according to the CDC, hypertension costs the U.S. $3.5 billion a year in lost wages and $47.5 billion in medical costs.
With such damaging effects, it’s no surprise many health care programs are focused on lowering blood pressure. Through health education adults can learn how to manage their hypertension with medication, diet, and exercise. Although many of the more popular methods, like walking 3 times a day for 10 minutes, are not easy to follow for those strapped in a truck all day.
Besides the health effects, having an overly high blood pressure could put truckers out of a job. To stay behind the wheel, drivers must meet certain physical regulations put in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. One such regulation requires there be no diagnosis of high blood pressure that could interfere with driving ability. Being at risk for a heart attack at any moment is clearly cause to be benched. Because of that, many drivers find themselves taking a high quantity of hypertension medications.
A possible solution to high blood pressure
One organization, the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, Duluth, has taken on a research project that specifically targets truck drivers. In particular, the drivers of Halvor out of Superior, Wisconsin. Their research focuses on the effects medication management can have on blood pressure. Through this program, selected drivers will meet with a pharmacist a few times a year to discuss the drugs they are prescribed.
The pharmacist will then make sure the driver is only taking the medication they need and nothing more. They will also be on the lookout for dangerous side effects and any drug interactions that need to be avoided. The driver’s blood pressures will be recorded all the while to see if the medication management provides any benefits to their health.
A unique feature of this study is that the researchers will collect data on the truck driver’s preferred method for consultation. Drivers in the study can discuss their medications either by video chat or in person. This study is slated to take a year to complete and the researchers look forward to enhancing the health care of other truck drivers with their conclusions.
Tags: Blood Pressure
, Trucking Life