Chrome 2001
Aetna Intelihealth InteliHealth Aetna Intelihealth Aetna Intelihealth
. .
Chrome 2001
Chrome 2001
Health News Health News
Vigorous Exertion at Work May Trigger Heart Attacks, Strokes
February 25, 2014


TUESDAY, Feb. 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A new study of firefighters suggests that bursts of strenuous emergency work can trigger fatal heart problems.

Researchers culled data from the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and found that among on-duty firefighters, 199 fatal cardiovascular events took place between 1998 and 2012.

Of the deaths, 167 were due to heart attacks, 12 to cases of irregular heartbeat, three to strokes, and the remaining to other various cardiovascular causes. The average age of the firefighters who died was 49 years old, and they had served an average of 22 years.

Study co-author Dr. Aveen Saed and colleagues also collected basic information about each firefighter. This included what they were doing at the time of death; their age range; health conditions they had, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol; and if they were taken to a hospital.

The researchers rated the activities the firefighters were doing right before a cardiovascular event as either "light to moderate," or "vigorous."

Driving and getting out of a vehicle were considered light tasks, while lugging heavy hoses, rescuing someone and running were labeled vigorous, explained Saed, a research fellow at Zeenat Qureshi Stroke Institute in St. Cloud, Minn.

The study found that 148 of the incidents took place after vigorous activity that took about 33 minutes, on average. Eighty-eight of the firefighters were actively fighting a fire, and at least 61 were responding to an emergency.

Then the researchers looked at personal heart risk factors for the 148 firefighters. Ninety-four had high cholesterol and 93 had high blood pressure, while 42 were smokers, 22 had diabetes and 46 had a family history of heart disease.

Of 51 firefighters performing light to moderate physical activity, 38 had high blood pressure, 34 had high cholesterol and 20 were smokers. In addition, seven had diabetes and 11 had a family history of heart disease.

"Our study brings awareness of the fact that these events are occurring, and they're occurring because of the activities the firefighters were involved in," Saed said. "But also, we have to look at the fact that a majority of these patients had other [conditions] such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and some were smokers."

She said the study results suggest that people in emergency professions and other fields of work that involve heavy labor or episodes of vigorous work should have regular health checks. "Firefighters should be aware of their risk factors if they are involved in vigorous activities on the job. Get regular check-ups and have their cholesterol and sugar levels checked, along with EKG stress tests," Saed advised.

Dr. Chip Lavie is medical director of cardiac rehabilitation and preventive cardiology at the John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute, in New Orleans. He said, "It is well known that high-intensity exercise as well as high mental stress are both associated with being triggers for acute cardiovascular events."

Even in someone who is well trained, vigorous physical exertion may increase the risk of a major cardiac event, said Lavie, who was not involved with the study.

"However, if such a person regularly performs vigorous exercise, their risk of cardiac event for the other 22 hours in the day may be reduced by nearly 50 percent, so the net effect is very beneficial," Lavie said.

Firefighters are probably more physically active than the general public, he said, but there may be significant individual differences in overall fitness and in cardiovascular risks among firefighters.

"High-risk individuals may reduce their risk by maximizing regular exercise and fitness, as well as by therapies such as baby aspirin, lipid [cholesterol] treatment, especially statins when appropriate," along with treatment to prevent high blood pressure, Lavie said.

The researchers will present their study findings at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting, April 26 to May 3 in Philadelphia. Research presented at meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

To learn more about the warning signs of a heart attack, visit the American Heart Association.
Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Aveen Saed, M.D., research fellow, Zeenat Qureshi Stroke Institute, St. Cloud, Minn.; Carl Lavie, M.D., professor, medicine, and medical director, cardiac rehabilitation and preventive cardiology, John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute, New Or...

More News
InteliHealth .
General Health News
Today's News
Today In Health History
This Week In Health
Addiction News
Allergy News
Alzheimer's News
Arthritis News
Asthma News
Babies News
Breast Cancer News
Bronchitis News
Cancer News
Cervical Cancer News
Children's Health News
Cholesterol News
Dental/Oral Health News
Depression News
Diabetes News
Ear, Nose And Throat News
Environmental Health News
Eye News
Fitness News
Genetics News
Headache News
Health Policy News
Heart Attack News
Heart Failure News
Heart Health News
Infectious Diseases News
Influenza News
Lung Cancer News
Medication News
Men's Health News
Mental Health News
Multiple Sclerosis News
Nutrition News
Parkinson's News
Pregnancy News
Prostate Cancer News
Senior Health News
Sexual/Reproductive Health News
Sexual dysfunction
Sleep News
STDs News
Stroke News
Tobacco Cessation News
Weight Management News
Women's Health News
    Print Printer-friendly format    
This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify.