How to lower blood pressure for DOT Physical test?


A driver with a diagnosis of hypertension on treatment should have at least an annual certification. A CMV driver with a Blood pressure (BP) 140/90 may be certified for 2 years. First time BP elevated:

Stage 1 – BP 140-159/90-99 Certification Period 1 year Stage 2 – BP 160-179/100-109 Certification Period 3 months as one time certification. Within the 3 months, if the blood pressure is below 140/90, the driver may receive 1 year certification. Stage 3 – BP Reading >180/110 Disqualified. When the blood pressure is less than 140/90, the driver can be certified at 6 month intervals.

There are reasons the FCMSA has set these stipulations in place for your DOT physical. Driving with high blood pressure is a risk for you, your passengers, as well as other drivers on the road. You run the risk of having heart complications while in the middle of your shift. For your overall well being and the well being of others, never try to “cheat the system” when it comes to your DOT physical.

Another great way to help keep employees on the road, other than a healthy lifestyle, is to protect your drivers with fleet roadside assistance. We can completely customize each individual plan to fit your unique specifications. Call us at (844) 636-2573 for more information on how we can help save you money, time, and heartache.

Blood pressure requirement for DOT physical exam

One-year DOT medical certification: a maximum of 140-159 points and a minimum of 90-99 points. This is, however, stage 1 hypertension, and the driver should seek treatment to get their blood pressure down.

DOT medical certification for two years: blood pressure less than 140/90

Temporary DOT certification for three months: with a peak number of 160-179 and a bottom number of 100-109. Blood pressure medication may be suggested, and the driver’s blood pressure may be rechecked for a one-year certification once it has decreased.

When a person’s blood pressure is 180/110 or above, he or she cannot obtain a DOT medical certification. This is referred to as stage three hypertension. The physician may suggest treatment alternatives, and the driver may be retested for a six-month accreditation at a later date.

If a person has type 1 or type 2 diabetes or renal disease, their blood pressure must be treated more than 130/80. These drivers have a greater chance of developing heart disease.


Take medication correctly

Blood pressure medication, such as beta-blockers or angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, will help a person lower and maintain their blood pressure. However, a person should always take their medication according to their doctor’s instructions.

Medication may be a good option for people whose blood pressure does not respond to other interventions.

It can also help a person bring their blood pressure into a healthy range while they work on other strategies, such as exercising more, to lower blood pressure over the long term.

Learn about blood pressure medications.

3. Smoking, Drinking, Even Coffee Will Raise Your Blood Pressure

 			Nicotine has been shown to raise blood pressur

Nicotine has been shown to raise blood pressure and heart rate, harden and narrow your arteries, and raise the likelihood of blood clotting. It is generally stressful on the heart, as well. Aside from the dozens of detrimental effects to your body, smoking is a direct cause of temporary increases in blood pressure. Any form of tobacco should really be avoided.

Smoking, High Blood Pressure and Your Health

The same goes for alcohol. Having more than three drinks in one sitting will temporarily raise your blood pressure, and long-term drinkers may have more chronic issues with hypertension. Avoid consuming alcohol in the days before your physical. Heavy drinkers should avoid stopping all at once, as it can cause even higher blood pressure. Heavy drinkers should probably also examine whether they are actually fit to be a truck driver, as well.

Does drinking alcohol affect your blood pressure?

Around 54% of Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee every day, with 68% of those consuming it within the first hour of waking up. Technically a psychoactive drug, it gives a kick to certain hormone producers in the brain that give you that energy boost, but it also temporarily, and almost immediately, raises blood pressure.

The effect of caffeine on blood pressure will be even more dramatic in those with already-high blood pressure, so avoid coffee and other sources of caffeine in the hours before your physical.

How you prepare

No special preparations are usually needed for a blood pressure test. But the following steps may provide the most accurate measurement:

  • Do not smoke, exercise or use caffeine for 30 minutes to an hour before the test. Such activities increase blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Wear a short-sleeved shirt so that the blood pressure cuff can be placed more easily around your arm.
  • Relax in a chair for at least five minutes before the test.
  • Tell your health care provider about the medications you take. Some drugs may affect blood pressure.

Don’t smoke

When you smoke, it temporarily raises your blood pressure putting stress on your cardiovascular system. Premature deaths caused by smoking are the most preventable death in the United States. It only takes seven days for nicotine to leave your system when you stop smoking. You can deal with the physical aspect of quitting. To deal with the psychological triggers, such as boredom or smoking after dinner, you will need to make a plan to replace smoking with something else. You can do it.

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Alcohol, Caffeine, and Tobacco

Consumption of alcohol, caffeine and tobacco cause your blood pressure to immediately rise. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and smoking at least 30 minutes before your blood pressure test to ensure an accurate measurement.


Your health care provider can tell you your blood pressure results right away after the test.

Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). A blood pressure measurement has two numbers:

  • The top number (systolic) is the pressure of the blood flow when the heart muscle squeezes (contracts), pumping blood.
  • The bottom number (diastolic) is the pressure measured between heartbeats.

The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association divide blood pressure into four general categories. Ideal blood pressure is categorized as normal. Here’s a look at blood pressure categories and what they mean. If the top and bottom numbers fall into two different ranges, the correct blood pressure category is the higher one.

Top number (systolic) in mm Hg And/or Bottom number (diastolic) in mm Hg Blood pressure category* What to do
Below 120 and Below 80 Normal blood pressure Maintain or adopt a healthy lifestyle.
120-129 and Below 80 Elevated blood pressure Maintain or adopt a healthy lifestyle.
130-139 or 80-89 Stage 1 high blood pressure (hypertension) Maintain or adopt a healthy lifestyle. Talk to your provider about taking one or more medications.
140 or higher or 90 or higher Stage 2 high blood pressure (hypertension) Maintain or adopt a healthy lifestyle. Talk to your provider about taking more than one medication.
Sources: American College of Cardiology; American Heart Association

*Ranges may be lower for children and teenagers. Talk to your child’s provider if you think your child might have high blood pressure.

If you have high blood pressure, making a few lifestyle changes can improve your heart health.

  • Reduce salt (sodium). The American Heart Association recommends that healthy adults have no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day. Ideally, most adults should limit salt to less than 1,500 mg a day. Check the amount of salt in processed foods, such as canned soups and frozen foods.
  • Eat healthy foods. Choose fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods. Eat less saturated fat and total fat.
  • Avoid or limit alcohol. Alcohol can raise blood pressure. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men.
  • Don’t smoke. If you need help quitting, ask your provider about strategies that can help. Also try to avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Manage weight. Having too much body weight is a risk factor for high blood pressure. Losing even just a few pounds can lower blood pressure.
  • Exercise regularly. Staying active helps lower your blood pressure and manage your weight. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that most healthy adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of the two.

If lifestyle changes do not successfully manage your blood pressure, your health care provider may recommend medication. Together, you and your provider can discuss the best treatment options for you.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Crossed Legs

Crossing your legs during a blood pressure reading can raise your results by 2 to 5 points. The nurse will usually remind the patient to be sure to sit with your legs uncrossed and feet flat on the ground during your blood pressure test. Make sure that your legs are not crossed during the reading to ensure accurate blood pressure readings and avoid a false hypertension reading.

Monitoring blood pressure

According to the CDC, a person should monitor their blood pressure regularly. They can do this at home using a blood pressure monitor.

Before taking a reading, the person should ensure that they have emptied the bladder, adopted a comfortable position, and rested for 3–5 minutes after moving around.

When taking the reading, tips include:

  • sitting in a chair with back support and keeping the back straight
  • keeping the legs uncrossed
  • breathing slowly and deeply
  • taking the blood pressure reading at the same time each day
  • keeping the circumstances consistent — for example, not skipping a meal before a reading one day and then eating a large meal right before the reading the next day
  • wrapping the cuff around the same arm each time
  • elevating the arm to about heart height by supporting it on a table or chair arm

The cuff should include instructions on how to take the reading. It is important to note that although the cuff should be snug, it should not be painful and should not cover the elbow.

Once a person has the reading, they should write it down. They should then wait 2–3 minutes and take another reading on the same arm.

A DOT physical examination includes the following:

  • Blood pressure readings
  • Urinary analysis
  • Hearing Vision
  • Physical examination in general

Blood pressure monitoring is a critical component of the DOT physical criteria. Although high blood pressure presents with minimal symptoms, it may result in severe consequences. A motorist who maintains an average blood pressure level will guarantee their health and safety, as well as the security of others.

These criteria, on the other hand, may benefit anybody in any career. Maintaining a healthy blood pressure level may help lower a person’s chance of developing heart disease, a heart attack or a stroke. It will contribute to an increase in general well-being.

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