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Health problems for truckers

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The demanding nature of a trucker’s work puts quite a toll on their health, both physical and mental. Truckers are at a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, obesity and various cancers, so preventative measures should be taken to decrease this risk and ensure a long and rewarding career. There are lot of truck driving schools who provide truck driving training and also knowledge on health issues and overall things to make sure you have smooth career. 

Sleep deprivation

Truckers not getting enough sleep is a big health risk factor within the industry. The job usually demands long hours on the road, adhering to a tight schedule which leads to penalties on the driver if it is not met. This results in many drivers pushing themselves beyond their limits, ending with severe sleep deprivation. A lot of drivers compensate for this by having excessive amounts of caffeine in the form of coffee and energy drinks, which wreak havoc with their internal health.

Obesity

Due to the majority of a trucker’s work day being sedentary, teamed with high consumption of low-quality, high fat foods, many truckers are at the risk of (or quickly become) overweight, and may even progress to obesity.

Heart attacks

Obesity can increase the risk of a heart attack, but it isn’t the only factor. You can still be thin and have a high risk of a heart attack if you are not maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Make sure you know the signs of a heart attack. Chest discomfort/pressure, pain in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach, shortness of breath, cold sweats, nausea, and light headedness are all warning signs. If you’re experiencing any of these, call 000 as soon as possible. The best ways to reduce your risk of a heart attack is by regularly exercising, eating a healthy diet, and keeping your blood pressure in a healthy range.

Strokes

Truckers also have a higher risk of getting a stroke. An unhealthy diet and lack of exercise increases the risk of a stroke. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, circulation problems, obesity, tobacco use and alcohol use.  Again, like heart attacks, it’s vital that you know of the warning signs of a stroke. The best way to remember is by using the acronym, “FAST”.

F for face – when you smile, does your face droop?

A for arms – Raise both arms. Does one drift downward?

S for speech – repeat a simple phrase — something like, “The sky is blue.” Is speech slurred or strange?

T for time – if any of these symptoms are present, call 911 immediately. The quicker you call for help, the better the chances of a positive prognosis.

Skin cancer

Skin is not protected from harmful UV rays just because you are inside a truck. The sun’s rays are powerful, and if it comes through the windscreen or windows and hits your skin then you are at risk of getting sun damage and ultimately skin cancer. Ensure that you always were a high SPF sunscreen to protect your face, neck, ears, arms and any other area of skin that is being exposed.

Lung cancer

Data shows that a majority of truckers also smoke, which greatly increases the risk of lung cancer  as well as the other diseases and conditions listed in this article (obesity, heart attacks, strokes etc). There are a number of ways you can quit smoking, such as going “cold turkey”; systematically decreasing the number of cigarettes you smoke; reducing your intake of nicotine gradually over time; using nicotine replacement therapy or non-nicotine medications to reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Bladder/kidney cancer

An important thing to remember is it’s not OK to hold it in! Holding in the urge to urinate instead of releasing when your body tells you it’s ready, will actually do quite a bit of damage to your bladder and kidneys. Whenever you are near a public toilet, take advantage of the opportunity, and if you are not that lucky, get creative and keep an empty water bottle handy.

Mental health

Socialisation is a rare occurrence in this job, so truckers should try things like listening to audio books, and keeping in contact with head office and other drivers via radio so that they can counteract feelings of isolation and boredom.

Relationship strains

Due to being away from friend and family for long periods of time, many truck drivers find that they feel disconnected from their loved ones when they come back home. Ways to counteract this is by getting the truckers to reconnect with families by talking about work, sharing their experiences and ensuring they spend some quality time (when possible) with friends and family.

There are many aspects to a trucker’s health, both physical and mental, that needs to be taken into account because of the nature of the job. If you need advice on any aspect of your health, seek professional guidance from your GP.

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