Blood clots are a definite danger to truck drivers, as the sedentary nature of driving for hours lends itself to the formation of blood clots in the legs. DVT, or deep vein thrombosis, occurs deep in the thigh or lower legs and generally happens to anyone who sits for long periods of time. For truckers, DVT forms because sitting for hours slows down the blood flow since your heart doesn’t need to pump as vigorously. Gravity then causes blood in your body to pool in your lower extremities, which creates a prime environment for blood clots to form. Unfortunately, many truckers ignore symptoms of swelling, soreness, unusual warmth, or red skin on the leg that points to the formation of blood clots—which can lead to serious complications or even death. The best way to avert these complications is to be proactive in avoiding blood clots altogether. Here are a few ways truck drivers can avoid blood clots and keep their legs healthy:
Make a genuine effort to move around every couple of hours. You don’t have to do anything crazy to avoid blood clots—just a simple walk around your truck a couple of times will do the job of keeping blood clots at bay. Of course, additional exercising is great for your overall health, so you should be doing at least 150 minutes of exercise per week to maintain optimal heart health.
Drink lots of water.
Keeping well hydrated is one of the keys to staying healthy and will help you avoid blood clots. When you’re dehydrated, your blood becomes more viscous and can aid in the formation of clots. Don’t let that happen to you! Keep a large water bottle by your side while driving, and cut back on the caffeine, which can dehydrate you.
Reduce your sodium intake.
Sodium is needed in the body in small amounts, but in large amounts, it can do a number on your health. When you intake too much salt, your blood pressure goes up and your body retains water. This can lead to blood flow issues, which can ultimately lead to blood clots. Cut back on the salt intake by avoiding pre-packaged foods and ensure you are eating a variety of healthy vegetables, nuts, fruits, and lean meats instead.
Wear loose-fitting clothing.
If you’re wearing tight clothing, you are putting yourself at a higher risk of a blood clot forming in your legs because you are restricting blood flow to your lower legs. Any clothing you wear while driving should always allow your blood to flow naturally through your body and reduce the restriction of the blood vessels.
Do some stretches.
Stretching and flexing your feet and legs while driving can help in the prevention of blood clots. It helps move the blood back through your body and helps prevent your blood from pooling in the legs.
Trucking is an important job, and without truck drivers to transport goods for long hours across America’s highways, average citizens would not have the items they need for their everyday lives. However, we need healthy truckers in those cabs to keep the industry alive and well. Although the job requires a lot of sedentary hours, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your health and wellbeing to get the job done. Put your health first so that you can keep on trucking for years to come—both on and off the road. Learn more about ways to keep yourself operating at your very best by listening to our Shift Into Better Health podcast here.