During the COVID-19 pandemic, the nation’s professional drivers have been working harder than ever to keep shelves stocked. Too often, working long hours behind the wheel, limited opportunities for physical activity, few healthy food options and irregular shift and sleep patterns put them at risk for metabolic syndrome and obesity – both of which are linked to liver disease.
According to Healthy Trucking of America (HTA), the leading authority on health and wellness issues for America’s truckers, 54.2% of their members report obesity, followed closely by 47.2% reporting liver disorders and 32.8% reporting diabetes. Since 2016, HTA has an established relationship with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in prediabetes treatment and weight management programs and has delivered National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) awareness programs to over 200,000 fleets across the United States to improve the health of professional drivers.
Now, Echosens and HTA have teamed up to proactively address liver health among HTA’s 770,000 active fleets in the United States, including independent owner/operators and fleet drivers and representing 7 million highly insured professional drivers.
This collaboration is part of the HTA’s “2021 Shift Into Better Health” campaign, which was implemented in conjunction with the National Diabetes Prevention Program with a focus on improving professional driver health and keep the trucking industry vital and safe for all road users. This campaign redoubles efforts on prevention, education and early detection of Type 2 diabetes, with broader initiatives to give long-haul professional drivers and supporting staff free health coach assistance and lifestyle change programs for a number of chronic disorders. HTA and Echosens are working together to add liver health metrics into the identification and management of the health conditions of America’s professional drivers.
Shifting into Better Health
Patients with elevated levels of liver fat associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are at a 2-3 fold-increased risk of both progression from pre-diabetes to diabetes and development of cardiovascular disease.
Modest lifestyle changes – including diet and exercise – can have a big impact on NAFLD, with even 3% to 5% weight loss documented to improve liver health. The HTA and Echosens collaboration also supports liver and metabolic health by early identification and driver engagement with HTA health coaches and partners.
This broad program supports healthier living to ensure that professional drivers continue to pass the bi-annual medical exam conducted by Certified Medical Examiners and required by the Department of Transportation to maintain a Commercial Drivers’ License or risk losing their livelihood.
The Role of FibroScan®
FibroScan®, our non-invasive, rapid and painless examination that accurately assesses liver health, can play an integral role in informing care plans to minimize the risk and halting the progression of fatty liver disease, fibrosis or liver cirrhosis among professional drivers.
FibroScan® is easily implemented, painless, quick and can be delivered at the point of care to serve as a valuable tool for early detection, monitoring, patient education and engagement.
We look forward to helping to improve the health of the nation’s hard-working professional drivers.