‘Blood Pressure Downshift’ to help drivers reach goals

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Novartis Pharmaceutical has launched “Blood Pressure Downshift,” a free educational program tailored for professional drivers to help them reach their blood pressure goals. The program was established in response to recent federal government regulations requiring professional drivers to have blood pressure of 140/90 mm Hg or below, instead of the 160/90 mm Hg previously required to maintain their CDL.

Professional drivers appear to be at greater risk for hypertension and the ensuing cardiovascular complications than those in other occupations, according to Novartis. Each year, 75 percent of driver deaths are attributed to high blood pressure and heart-related diseases. Almost 40 percent of CMV drivers who have worked for more than 20 years have hypertension, but only a third of these individuals know they have it and receive adequate treatment, Novartis says.

Drivers who participate in the program will receive four mailings during the year containing support resources to help them manage their blood pressure, both on and off the road. The mailings will include:

  • An educational brochure that explains high blood pressure, what drivers can do about it and how it can affect their CDL license;
  • A blood pressure wallet diary that provides drivers with tips and a convenient tool to track and note blood pressure readings while at home or on the road;
  • An educational blood pressure audio CD that explains high blood pressure and uses real-life, on-the-road experiences to show how it can be managed;
  • CDL holder chart stickers for drivers to share with healthcare professionals that will identify them as a CDL holder in their medical chart and as someone who needs to meet specific blood pressure goals;
  • A blood pressure “success zone” brochure containing information on another program that Novartis offers to people who take their medications;
  • An American Nurses Association brochure containing educational information and tips for how to manage uncontrolled blood pressure; and
  • A reprint of the Time article, “The Stealth Killer: America’s High Blood Pressure Crisis is Spinning Out of Control. Learn About It, Treat it — And Maybe Save Your Life.”

    Drivers can enroll in the program by going to www.drivershealth.com.