Emergency service statistics list 'heart attacks' as the number one killer of firefighters every year. Since every firefighter performs some level of emergency medical care and many are certified EMS providers, the data is suggestive that heart disease is also the leading killer of EMS providers.
Risks associated with heart disease alone are applicable to many of the EMS functions we perform. High blood pressure and smoking are the two major contributing factors. In addition, excess weight, age, race, alcohol, family history, diabetes and modern stressors play vital roles in promoting heart disease. An educated provider is an informed provider and is more likely to lead a healthy, prudent lifestyle.
Health and wellness are very broad topics and may be addressed best by understanding general components of wellness. In turn, a basic understanding when practiced will have a positive effect on your health. Wellness is typically divided into two components, physical and emotional. The physical component deals with nutrition, exercise, disease and sleep. The emotional component often involves stress factors. Emergency responders at all levels should play close attention to both components. Future tips will address the specific components.