Blog: Long-haul truck drivers are susceptible to all sorts of health is...
by CynthiaMadison

Long-haul truck drivers are susceptible to all sorts of heal

The trucking industry is by far one of the most important employers in the world, which means that many people have a job thanks to freight transportation.

Date:   10/13/2021 9:51:15 AM   ( 3 mon ) ... viewed 36 times

The trucking industry is by far one of the most important employers in the world, which means that many people have a job thanks to freight transportation. Men and women are essential to the transportation of goods over long distances. They spend days, weeks, and even months at a time on the road. It’s a rewarding job, which comes with travel and a lot of autonomy, but it takes hard work and dedication. Regrettably, it can take a toll on the health. Drivers are forced to work in singular conditions that present health and safety challenges. 

Long-haul truck driver expectancy is shorter than the norm and the issue deserves further investigation. Life expectancy has stopped rising because more and more individuals become sick. Long-haul truck drivers tend to develop several health issues during their lifetime, so a work-life on the road comes with a set of unexpected challenges. Long hours, irregular schedules, and limited access to healthy food are just some of the things that make it challenging to be a long-haul truck driver. 

Let’s take a look at some of the most common health issues that trucking professionals have to deal with. 

Heart disease 

Heart disease doesn’t discriminate, which translates into the fact that it can affect anyone. While it can be fatal, it’s preventable in most cases. Long-haul truck drivers are prone to developing heart conditions such as inflammatory heart disease, angina, coronary artery disease, not to mention congestive heart failure. These conditions lead to symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue, fainting, and hyperventilation. And a heart attack. Important lifestyle factors place trucking professionals at risk for heart disease. Examples include smoking, poor diet, irregular sleep, and lack of physical movement. 

Regular check-ups by a primary care physician allow long-haul truck drivers to monitor health over time. Still, it’s necessary to make lifestyle changes to keep the heart and blood vessels in good condition. Exercise, for example, improves blood circulation and makes a person feel more energetic. Taking part in daily exercise counters the negative effects of being in a sedentary position for an extended period of time. Running and jogging are great examples of physical activities; exercising can be done during a break. 

Obesity

Obesity is a growing problem in the trucking industry. Sedentary work increases the risk for obesity and related chronic diseases. Long-haul truck drivers don't have access to healthy food options, not to mention that physical activity is limited. The typical routine is nothing like a 9-5 job. It's like living in a box. has been demonstrated that workplace health promotion can bring about improvement in people's knowledge, behaviors, and self-reported health outcomes. Truck cabs, depots, and truck stops are the places where messages can be promoted wisely. Drivers don't have time to go to the gym, but they can maximize weight loss.

Given that obesity is a public health concern, it's paramount for employers to strive to promote a better work environment and healthier behaviors among long-haul truck drivers. Being overweight increases the risk for developing serious health conditions like diabetes type 2, high blood pressure, and atherosclerosis. Contrary to popular opinion, being obese isn't an appearance problem. It's a medical concern. When someone consumes more calories than they use, they are stored as fat. The body reaches the point where the amount of body fat can harm the person's health. The good news is that it's never too late to make changes. And those changes don't have to be big. It's important to take things one step at a time.

Mental health problems 

Isolation is just one of the factors that put long-haul truck drivers at risk for depression and other mental health disorders. Trucking professionals are away from friends and family for extended periods of time. This basically means that they're alone with just their thoughts and the experience is anything but relaxing. Distracting ideas, worries, and negative feelings start racing through their heads. The day-to-day events that take place on the road can lead to anxiety. The longer someone has been in the industry, the greater the chances of experiencing an accident. Even if vehicles are now equipped with camera systems and proximity sensors for added safety, drivers are still anxious. 

In spite of the fact that truck drivers give the impression of being tough and sealed against emotional distress, the truth is that they’re vulnerable. Suicide is fairly common among trucking professionals, yet putting an end to suicide isn’t the answer. Bottling up emotions and problems contributes to poor mental health and the stigma associating it is strong in the industry. Individuals refuse to talk about their health and emotions because they don’t want to be perceived as weak. Their anger takes the form of cursing, yelling, and punching objects. Even if large operators offer insurance that covers mental health care, that’s not unfortunately the case for all long-haul truck drivers. 

Musculoskeletal Injuries  

Almost all musculoskeletal injuries reported by long-haul truck drivers are to the arms, necks, and backs. Pain might be widespread and it can affect the entire body, but it’s usually localized. Some examples of factors that can affect driver discomfort include but aren’t limited to weight and BMI, height, age, and gender. The question now is: How is it possible to reduce the risk? Simple, low-cost adjustments can be made to the cab and drivers’ routines. This might turn out to be challenging in this economy, but it’s important to keep in mind that employees are the greatest assets a company can have. 

 

While musculoskeletal injuries result in lower back pain, individuals are likely to experience anxiety, sleep disorders, and even depression. It’s not a joke. Treatment involves time away from work, not to mention expensive procedures. This can include anti-inflammatory medication, exercise and physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation, and relaxation. If the aforementioned methods don’t give the expected results, long-haul truck drivers can expect increased medical expenses and prolonged recovery. It’s not exactly an ideal situation. The average trucking professional has at least one musculoskeletal injury in a working year. 

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