In order to drive a commercial truck with a gross weight totaling over 10,000 lbs. on the interstate, drivers must pass a DOT physical with blood pressure at or below 140/90. While medication is an acceptable method of keeping blood pressure under control, if your DOT physical is coming up soon and you’re in a pinch, there are steps you can take to lower your blood pressure now.
1. Drink a lot of water.
Drinking water helps flush sodium – which is a known cause of high blood pressure – from the body, and helps to calm the nervous system. Drinking larger quantities at a time has a more immediate effect. Sipping regularly throughout the day is great for hydration, but drink a big glass all at once for a more immediate drop in blood pressure.
2. Eat more potassium.
Potassium is an electrolyte that counteracts other electrolytes that are associated with high blood pressure, such as sodium. While potassium supplements may take 4-6 weeks to take effect, eating something like a banana can help lower blood pressure within 1-2 hours.
3. Drink beet juice.
Beet juice is full of nitric oxide, which causes blood vessels to dilate and allows blood to flow more smoothly. Drinking a glass of beet juice is scientifically proven to cause a noticeable drop in blood pressure within the hour and a significant drop in 2.5 hours.
4. Cut the crap.
If you have a few days before your physical, stop unhealthy eating and other habits like smoking, drinking, etc. as early as possible. Avoid fatty meals for at least two days – they typically contain lots of sodium and saturated fats. Avoid smoking for as long as possible, as smoke decreases oxygen levels and causes the heart to work harder.
Slow, rhythmic breathing slows the heart rate while shallow breathing increases the heart rate. Focus on deep breathing for 10-15 minutes before your appointment. The most effective technique for lowering blood pressure is inhaling through the nose and holding for 5-6 seconds, then exhaling through the mouth for one second longer than the inhale.
Long-term Solutions to Pass DOT Physical
While these are awesome techniques for passing your DOT blood pressure test in a pinch they won’t work long-term. High blood pressure isn’t something that should be taken lightly – it can cause heart attack, coronary artery disease, stroke, and congestive heart failure. If you have high blood pressure, though, and don’t want to rely on medication, don’t worry. Lifestyle changes such as weight loss, regular exercise, and a healthy diet have been proven to help manage blood pressure naturally.