Objective: To investigate the frequencies of risk factors and the prevalence of coronary heart disease (CAD) in heavy vehicle drivers.
Methods: This cross-sectional type study was conducted between November 2004 and September 2006 in heavy vehicle male drivers registered with the Sivas Professional Drivers Association, Sivas, Turkey. From 400 individuals, 200 heavy vehicle male drivers, and 200 control subjects, 90% were reached for the sample. A questionnaire including sociodemographic specifications, body mass index (BMI), and risk factors for CHD was performed and some blood and physiologic parameters such as lipid profiles, fasting glucose level, resting ECG, were checked in all individuals; if required exercise ECG and angiography was performed.
Results: The drivers' weight, body fat mass, triglycerides, very low-density lipoprotein, and BMI means were higher than the control group at a statistically significant level, and their mean high-density lipoprotein level, which is a protective factor for CAD, was lower than the control group at a statistically significant level. In the drivers' group, 9 of the 109 exercise ECGs (8.3%), and in the control group 3 of 61 (4.9%) were evaluated as abnormal. In 5% of the drivers, the exercise test was evaluated as positive and this prevalence was 1.7% in the control group (p=0.081). A total of 3.3% of the participants had a positive exercise ECG.
Conclusion: Periodic health check-ups for heavy vehicle drivers would allow for the diagnosis of heart disease at an early stage and the initiation of necessary treatment. Health education for this group could also have a part in the decrease and elimination of some risk factors for CAD.