Leadership

Heart Disease and Firefighters – Reduce Your Risk during Heart Awareness Month

We all know firefighters have a huge increased risk of heart disease compared to non-firefighters.  You don’t think you’re at risk? Think again. Forty-five percent of the deaths among firefighters are due to cardiovascular disease compared to 15% in regular jobs. Many fire service personnel I know lead healthy lifestyles, however, they had no clue they had Heart Disease. That’s why it’s called the silent killer.

Though most of it is related to the occupational exposure, some of it has to do with our lifestyle, such as burgers, the burritos and spaghetti in the firehouse.  

February is Heart Awareness month. Together, we can prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD), one step at a time. First, check with your Doctor. And then monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure often has no symptoms, so be sure to have it checked on a regular basis. We have the equipment on the rigs, use!

Get your cholesterol checked and eat a healthy diet. Cooking healthy meals and snack options can help you avoid CVD and its complications.

Maintain a healthy weight. We have the time, exercise while on duty. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for CVD. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

Though becoming more taboo, don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for CVD. Limit alcohol use. Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can increase your blood pressure.

Manage your diabetes. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels closely. Take your medicine. If you’re taking medication to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or another condition, follow the instructions carefully.

Need more inspiration? Try the “28 Days to a Healthier Heart” tips which can inspire you throughout February and all year long!

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy!