By Rory Reynolds
CONGESTED streets, road works, street yobs, drunk passengers and long hours have left a staggering three-quarters of Edinburgh cabbies with dangerously high blood pressure.
A massive 75 per cent of cab drivers tested positive for high blood pressure compared to just 25 per cent of the average middle-aged person.
The medical condition – which is linked to strokes and heart attacks – is most often caused by bad diet, stress and lack of exercise.
Raymond Davidson, secretary of the Edinburgh Taxi Association, said that the nature of the job doesn’t help.
He said: “It is a problem for many drivers – you can be sitting in your cab for upwards of 12 hours and a lot of guys eat junk food.“Something like a diet chart may be helpful, but it’s not many jobs that are like this.
“Of course after driving through Edinburgh all day or night it is tiring, and doing some exercise isn’t necessarily what you want to be doing.”
Keith Bell, who has worked as an Edinburgh city cabbie for years, says the difficulties that cabbies face on a daily basis lead to stress.
He said: “It’s no wonder our blood pressure is sky high.
“We’ve got trams to deal with, congestion, road works, drunks stepping out on front of your cab, passengers being sick and urinating all over your seats.”
The High Blood Pressure Foundation, which is carrying out tests as part of Know Your Numbers Week, revealed that while traffic is part of the cause, being static all day, working antisocial hours and eating takeaways have the biggest impact on people’s health.
Susan Inch, director of the High Blood Pressure Foundation said: “It’s worrying to see that nearly three quarters of the cabbies we tested in Edinburgh had high blood pressure readings.
“It is not surprising given that 50 per cent of them admitted to not watching their salt intake – too much salt is known to raise blood pressure – and regularly eating high fat convenience foods.
“The good news is that they now know their blood pressure numbers and how to lower them.
“We hope that many others will be as willing to take the opportunity to have a free check during Know Your Numbers Week.”
Mike Rich, executive director of the HBPF, added: “There does appear to be a blood pressure divide between the cabbies we tested in London and Edinburgh and this may be down to their respective diets and lifestyles.
“High blood pressure is the major cause of strokes and heart attacks.”
Fifty drivers were checked as part of the survey.