Here at our Downtown Orlando office, we are pleased to be able to assist many Orlando-based transportation workers with their Department of Transportation (DOT) physicals. To make the process easy for you, today we’re going to cover with you precisely what you need to do to have the best chance of passing your DOT physical. Before we get to some of the secrets that the medical community doesn’t even want me to talk to you about, we’re going to cover some of the elements of the exam.
What Happens in an Orlando DOT Physical?
If you’ve had one of these DOT exams done before, you know that they’re all relatively similar. You’ll come in, and we’ll complete some forms and review your past medical history and medications you might be taking, along with any previous illnesses that you might have. After that, we’ll do urinalysis, which checks for protein, blood, and sugar in your urine. We’re not checking for drugs. We will take your height and weight and then we’ll go over a brief physical exam to check your eyes and your hearing. And then the most important part I think that trips up a lot of our drivers, is the blood pressure test. We check your blood pressure, and that seems to be where most of our drivers are not able to pass because their blood pressure is too high. It’s a really common theme here in America where we all have a lot of high blood pressure.
Passing the Blood Pressure Test
Now I’m going to go over how you can make sure that your blood pressure comes in at a healthy level.
These are all-natural methods, and there’s nothing untoward about this. This is just to make sure that your blood pressure is within range when you have a test. If you have a few days to prepare, that’s going to be better because then you can start to make healthy choices. Get good sleep, avoid salty foods, decrease or quit smoking, and avoid alcohol. We all know that these things reduce your blood pressure over the course of two days. So if you have a few days to prepare, you want to make sure that you start getting ready.
If you don’t have a few days to prepare, maybe you’re driving on the road, and suddenly you look at your little your little DOT card there, and you’re like oh my gosh, I have 24 hours to get this done. I’ve got to get this done by tomorrow, otherwise, it’s expired. I want to give you tips and tricks that you can use in 24 to 48 hours to make sure that you can pass this test. First, you want to make sure you get a good night’s sleep. Like I just mentioned a minute ago, it’s going to help to lower your blood pressure. Second, you need to let your examiner know if you have white coat syndrome. There is a condition where when you see a doctor’s white coat, you start to get nervous. Your blood pressure goes up because you get into that fight-or-flight response. If you let your examiner know that you suffer from this, they can help to make sure that they are keeping you relaxed so that your pressure stays low, so you have a better chance to come back within range. Again, you want to avoid salty foods.
So on the day of the exam, you don’t want to have a big lunch of spicy food or salty foods. You definitely want to avoid alcohol. We want to avoid nicotine and alcohol for at least an hour prior to taking this exam if not more. There’s some great research out of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London which shows that if you drink beet juice, two hours by getting your blood pressure taken, it comes back substantially lower. So if you can find beet juice at your local grocery store, have yourself a bottle of that, and that’s going to help to reduce your blood pressure. If you can take a walk for about 15 minutes before you have your blood pressure taken, it’s also going to come back lower. And here’s maybe the most important trick of all. They took 20,000 patients who were going into a medical facility to have their blood pressure taken in Japan back in 2005. And what they did was they had them do deep breathing exercises just prior to having their blood pressure taken, and it came back substantially lower. So here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to do this deep breathing exercise we’re going to set a timer for 30 seconds, and then you’re gonna take six deep breaths. Sounds really easy, but if you haven’t practiced it a few times, it’s hard to get it exactly right and time the tempo of taking those deep breaths. So practice a few times but if you close your eyes, and relax and take those six deep breaths within a 30 second period. What you’ll notice is that your blood pressure goes down. So if you want to give yourself the best chance of passing the DOT physical on the first try, It’s going to be taking deep breaths before you head in. I hope this helps you to pass your DOT physical next time around. We do these DOT physicals Monday through Thursday, noon to 9 and Fridays from noon to 6 right here in downtown Orlando. It’s $75 for an exam. If we can help you you can schedule an appointment here and we’ll get you to taken care of so you can get back on the road and drive safely.