BACKGROUND: Cardiac-related incidents are a public health concern for tactical occupations, and cardiovascular disease rates are higher in these populations compared with civilians. Research is needed to examine blood pressure (BP) responses in firefighters. The pager alert is one occupational hazard, and it is unknown if lifestyle change can reduce the systolic surge response.
PURPOSE: To measure BP surge with alarm in firefighters to determine whether the magnitude is lower after a 6-week tactical exercise and Mediterranean-diet intervention.
METHODS: SBP and DBP and BP surge levels, circulating markers, vascular health, and fitness were analyzed. BP surge with alarm was captured during a 12-hour workshift. Exercise and diet were self-reported. Diet was tracked with diet scores based on number of servings.
RESULTS: Twenty five firefighters (43.4 ± 13.9 years) participated. We found changes in the magnitude of BP surge with alarm (SBP surge from16.7 ± 12.9 to 10.5 ± 11.7 mmHg, P < 0.05; DBP surge from 8.2 ± 10.8 to 4.9 ± 5.6 mmHg, P > 0.05) after intervention. We confirm that clinical (127.6 ± 9.1 to 120 ± 8.2 mmHg) and central (122.7 ± 11.3 to 118.2 ± 10.7 mmHg) SBP levels improve with exercise and diet. We report for the first time in firefighters that oxidative stress markers superoxide dismutase (9.1 ± 1.5 to 11.2 ± 2.2 U/ml) and nitric oxide (40.4 ± 7 to 48.9 ± 16.9 μmol/l) levels improve with an exercise and diet intervention.
CONCLUSION: These findings have implications toward the benefit that short-term lifestyle changes make toward reducing the alarm stress response in first responders.
Feairheller, Deborah L; Smith, Macie; Carty, Megan; and Reeve, Emily H, "Blood Pressure Surge with Alarm Is Reduced after Exercise and Diet Intervention in Firefighters" (2023). College of Population Health Faculty Papers. Paper 171.
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