Abstract 14720: Firefighters Have the Highest Risk for Heart Disease Among Emergency Personnel
Introduction: Prior studies have shown obesity, lower activity levels and increased stress among emergency personnel, yet it is unclear if the specific sub-type of emergency personnel impacts stress levels and physical activity (PA). The purpose of this study was to compare emergency personnel sub-types for risk of heart disease and compare on and off duty PA and stress levels.
Hypothesis: We hypothesized that there would be differences in cardiac risk factors, exercise behaviors, and salivary cortisol by type of emergency responders and would be different when on/off duty.
Methods: We recruited 37 male emergency personnel workers (12 paramedics, 12 police officers and 13 firefighters, ages 20-40) who then underwent three non-sequential days of testing. We measured body composition, lipids, blood pressure, and peak VO2 with a standard Bruce treadmill protocol and calculated Framingham Risk Scores (FRS) on the first day of testing. Participants then wore an accelerometer and measured AM and PM salivary cortisol on and off duty.
Results: Contrary to our hypothesis, PA levels did not differ between on and off duty. Firefighters expended significantly more kcals per day and took more steps per day compared to paramedics (p < 0.05). Cortisol concentration was significantly higher AM vs. PM on duty (p < 0.05); although off duty cortisol remained elevated. No significance was found between off duty values. Firefighters’ FRS was significantly higher than paramedics (p < 0.05). See Table.
Conclusion: In conclusion, although firefighters were more active than police and paramedics, they had a higher FRS. Among all emergency personnel types, cortisol concentrations showed a prolonged stress response in the emergency personnel population suggesting a sustained off duty stress response for unclear reasons. These finding suggest that firefighters should focus on decreasing cardiac risk factors and interventions are needed to reduce emergency personnel off duty stress.
Author Disclosures: K.A. Moody: None. T. Matthews: None. R. Wood: None. L.A. Ayvazian: None. E.A. Woodbury: None. M. Gile: None. H. Szalai: None. Q.R. Pack: None. S. Headley: None.
- © 2015 by American Heart Association, Inc.