Hypertension in the United States fire service


Advocate Lutheran General Hospital


Hypertension is a major risk factor for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and cardiac remodeling and is associated with an increased risk of sudden cardiac events, the leading cause of duty-related death in the fire service. We assessed systemic blood pressures and prevalence of hypertension among US firefighters by decade of life. Medical records of career firefighters (5063 males and 274 females) from four geographically diverse occupational health clinics were assessed. Hypertension was defined as systolic blood pressure ≥130 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure ≥80 mmHg, or taking antihypertensive medication. Results from the firefighter sample were compared to the US general population (2015-2016 and 2017-2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys). Among the total sample, 69% of firefighters met the criteria for hypertension and 17% were taking antihypertensive medications. Percentages of hypertensive male and female firefighters were 45% and 11% among 20-29 years old, respectively, and increased to 78% and 79% among 50-59 years old, respectively. Compared to the general population, male firefighters had a higher prevalence of hypertension (

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