Firefighting

FIREFIGHTERS AND HEART DISEASE: BEYOND THE STATISTICS

Issue 12 and Volume 159.

BY MARY JANE DITTMAR One finding stands out when analyzing research related to the factors that have been contributing to firefighter cardiovascular-related line-of-duty deaths (LODDs) over the past decade: Members of the fire service may have more control over their health and these LODD statistics than they realize. These events need not necessarily be accepted as inevitable. With the proper interventions, the number of such deaths and illnesses can be decreased. “Clogged arteries are a societal disease and heart disease primarily a disease of choice, of lifestyle,” says Richard Milani, director of preventive cardiology at the Ochsner Institute in New Orleans. He was commenting on a study headed by Dr. Salim Yusuf, head of the Population Health Research Institute at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. Dr. Yusuf and his colleagues identified nine risk factors that “account for 90 percent of the heart disease in every population on earth: smoking, high…

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