Diabetes is on the rise in the United States. According to the CDC, over 30 million Americans were living with diabetes as of 2015, with that number steadily growing each year. In trucking, there’s a 50 percent higher occurrence of type 2 diabetes than the national average. Since November is Diabetes Awareness Month, we wanted to take a moment and talk about a disease that is so prevalent in our industry and affects many of our loyal readers and customers.
We get that it can be hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle as a long-haul driver because of the amount of time you spend on the road and the sedentary nature of the job. However, it’s important to know how to prevent or live with diabetes as a trucker so that you’re able to do this job you love for as long as you can.Diabetes prevention
If you’re at risk of a diabetes diagnosis or are interested in taking steps toward optimal health, there are several things you can do:
Managing life as a trucker with diabetes
- Exercise regularly
- Cut out sugary beverages
- Drink plenty of water – at least half your body weight in ounces each day
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Practice intuitive eating based on hunger and not boredom
- Get enough sleep
- Follow a sound nutrition plan
- Prepare meals at home for the road to avoid fast food.
- Pack healthier snacks for between mealtimes, such as fruit, nuts and vegetables.
- See your health care provider regularly
Living with diabetes as a truck driver can be difficult, but it’s possible to enjoy a successful driving career as a diabetic. Here are some tips for managing your diabetes on the road:
Coping with diabetes
- Use a packing list when you’re ready to get back on the road. This ensures that you have all medications, testing supplies and other essentials you might need for the entire trip. Trucking can take you into some remote areas, so it’s important that your truck is stocked for any situation.
- If you’re a team driver, make sure your partner knows what to do in an emergency and how to watch for signs of low blood sugar.
- Take your medication as prescribed by your doctor and test your blood sugar regularly.
- Don’t skip meals. Maintain a meal and snack routine so that your body gets what it needs throughout the day.
- Make healthy food choices when you’re on the road. Drink plenty of water and limit liquids that are high in sugar. Eat lots of raw and steamed vegetables and lean meats.
- Make a meal plan ahead of time so you’re not grabbing for something unhealthy in a bind.
- Get moving. Fit in exercise whenever you can, such as a short workout routine in the morning before you get on the road, walking a couple laps around your truck at rest areas.
- Wear a medical bracelet. This helps emergency professionals know what you need in the event of an emergency if you are unable to tell them yourself.
- Find a trucking company that has a health program in place to help you learn about your diabetes diagnosis, set health goals and to provide you with additional support.
A diabetes diagnosis is serious and can certainly be more challenging as a professional driver, but it doesn’t have to mean the end of your career. It is important to remember that you’re not alone in this journey. Connect with other drivers who are also living with this disease to lean on one another for advice and support. Surround yourself with doctors and health professionals who are committed to helping you achieve your goals. Think about your long-term health, particularly the areas that may be affected by diabetes later on, such as your kidney function, eye care and blood pressure. Put yourself first and listen to your body to know what you need. It’s not being selfish – it’s making sure that you can be the best version of you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Most importantly, remember that diabetes doesn’t define who you are.
Are you a driver living with diabetes? What tips do you want to share with other drivers?