The American Heart Association recently reported that cardiovascular disease impacts nearly half of all American adults. What you might not know is that the risk is exponentially higher within the firefighter community.
Firefighters face many risks on a day-to-day basis, and their profession is recognized as one of the most dangerous in the country. However, firefighter deaths are more likely to stem from cardiac arrest than from any other cause. In fact, a recent study showed that 82 percent of those who died in the line of duty had evidence of coronary heart disease or enlarged hearts – which is contrary to what you may expect given the physical demands of the job.
Despite firefighters being at a higher risk for cardiac-related death, some of the factors that lead them there are similar across the U.S. In fact, the CDC reports that 47 percent of Americans have at least one of the three biggest risk factors, including high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and smoking. If more people understand these risks, then more people may reach out to their physician when they experience them.
Let’s look at Dennis as an example.
Dennis, a firefighter from Arizona, started experiencing shortness of breath and fatigue during his regular work duties. Initially, his doctor diagnosed him with asthma, but his symptoms persisted. Dennis shrugged it off as part of getting older until a routine physical picked up an irregularity. He was sent to Biltmore Cardiology for a cardiac consult and received a Coronary Computed Tomography Angiogram (CCTA) scan where more than 30 percent stenosis was detected. His physician then ordered the non-invasive HeartFlow Analysis, which showed a significant coronary blockage.
Hear his story in this heartwarming patient video:
What You Can Do
Thinking your symptoms of coronary artery disease are signs of something else is not uncommon, however it can be risky to ignore. Over time, the issues intensify, and if not treated, can be deadly. If you are experiencing changes in your health, talk to your physician and know that there are non-invasive solutions available that can help provide clarity.
Dennis is now one of more than 60,000 patients whose lives have been impacted with the HeartFlow Analysis to date. We are proud to have served these patients and the physicians who use it to help guide their diagnosis and treatment decisions.
To better understand risk factors and ways to prioritize your health, read our blog post here. To learn more about The HeartFlow Analysis, click here. See a preview of what a 3D HeartFlow Analysis can look like on mobile here (for iOS only) or desktop here.