Would you like to check your blood pressure with that fill-up?

CARDINAL, Ont. — The famous 730 truck stop near the Quebec-Ontario border now serves up health care and advice with its java and diesel.

Once a month, an RV full of medical expertise pulls up to the lot and — courtesy of the Community and Primary Health Care (CPHC) team out of nearby Brockville, Ont. — doles out medical help and advice to visiting truckers.

And according to Carol Quinlan, the nurse practitioner who oversees the operation, the service is free, even if you’re from outside Canada.

The monthly visits are the result of an arrangement between the 730 owner Bob Lodge and the health unit. Lodge had been lobbying for two years to have a mobile health unit drop into the truck stop, and the service started last November.

Quinlan told Todaystrucking.com that all drivers are welcome, regardless of what’s on their minds. “They might be feeling lousy, they might just want to talk to somebody, or they could have very specific concerns,” she said.

She also offers a free basic checkup that might help them detect early signs of conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Both conditions have been linked to the driver lifestyle.

In 2000, a University of Montreal study found that truckers with untreated diabetes were 68 percent more likely to be involved in a crash.

Truckers are not only offered check-ups but also immunization and blood work and, if appropriate, prescriptions. Quinlan also has contact numbers for a physician, if that’s what’s warranted.

The mobile unit is believed to be the first of its kind and the organizers are trying to spread the word to other local health authorities. It sees about 900 truckers a day.

As 730 Owner Lodge told the CBC News: “The statistics say 75 percent of the truckers are all 55 years or older. I’m worried about them not taking care of their health — they won’t be around long enough to keep the economy going."

The 730, long an innovator in the world of truck stops, also provides a free exercise room, an onsite chiropractor and healthy menu alternatives.

The service is paid for by the local health units and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

— with files from CBC


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