ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
New Insights Show Ginseng Fights Inflammation
Pharoah's Wine Jar Yields Medicinal Secrets
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Bone Loss Stable on Restricted Calorie Diet
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
Tips to Ease an Aching Back
CANCER
Get to Know the Pap Test
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
CAREGIVING
U.S. Mental Health Spending Rises, But Many Still Left Out
Distance No Bar to Kidney Transplants in Remote Areas
Study Links Pesticides to Birth Defects
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
DIABETES
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Functional Foods Uncovered
Holiday Eating Without the Guilt -- or the Pounds
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Restaurant Sushi May Have More Mercury Than Store-Bought Fare
Controversial Chemical Lingers Longer in the Body
Vitamin D Deficit May Trigger MS Risk Gene
EYE CARE, VISION
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
Kids' Eye Injuries From Golf Clubs Rare But Severe
Sports Eye Injuries Leading Cause of Blindness in Youths
FITNESS
Exercise Keeps the Brain Young
Antioxidants Blunt Exercise Benefit, Study Shows
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
You Can Get Great Exercise In The Garden
For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age
When Healing Becomes a Commodity
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
Fondness for Fish Keeps Japanese Hearts Healthy
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Safety Should Be Priority for Those Involved in Kids' Sports
Decline of Underweight Children in U.S. Continue to Fall
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
SENIORS
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Add your Article

Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds

RIDAY, March 13 (HealthDay News) -- Burning buildings might not be the only risks that firefighters face. They also appear to be more likely than their peers in other professions to have prematurely narrowed arteries, increasing their risk for strokes and heart attacks, according to a new study.

In fact, 22 percent of a group of 77 firefighters studied by researchers at the University of Kansas averaged 39 years old but had the blood vessels of 52-year-olds because of significant plaque buildup in their carotid arteries.

"These men, as young as they are, for some reason have a high rate of early development of vascular disease, asymptomatic as it is," said Dr. Patrick Moriarty, director of the Atherosclerosis and LDL Apheresis Center at the University of Kansas Medical Center and the study's lead researcher. "What it means is that we have to find a way to make their job have less risk potential in terms of less cardiovascular risk."

The findings were presented March 12 at the American Heart Association's conference on cardiovascular disease in Palm Harbor, Fla.

The demands of firefighters' jobs and their health needs often conflict, Moriarty explained. The stress of being on call for 48 hours, for instance, takes a toll on the body, he said. And, in addition, firefighters need high-calorie meals because, if they have to quickly leave to fight a fire, they might not have another meal for 24 hours, Moriarty said.

Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, a professor of medicine and associate chief of the cardiology division at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that exposure to small particulate matter in smoke that occurs at fires also is harmful. Smoke, he said, provokes inflammation, which is associated with heart disease and stroke.

Also, many firefighters sleep during the day and work at night, which might be a problem because "there is some data about night workers having premature atherosclerotic events," Fonarow said. Atherosclerosis occurs when cardiovascular arteries thicken and the space for blood flow narrows.

Moriarty said that his interest in the cardiovascular risks for firefighters stemmed from having treated a number of them at clinic. Background information in his study noted that cardiovascular disease has been associated with 45 percent of the on-duty deaths of firefighters in the United States, compared with 36 percent for other lines of work. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has reported that sudden cardiac deaths are the leading cause of death in the line of duty for firefighters.

For the study, Moriarty's research team used sonography to measure lipid levels in the firefighters' carotid arteries. The study described the 77 firefighters as young, with a low prevalence of cardiovascular disease and the risk factors associated with it. But, they had "more advanced atherosclerosis than a non-firefighting population of similar age gender and race," the researchers wrote.

Fonarow said that he would like to see the study replicated by another lab with a similar group of firefighters. The 13-year difference between the average chronological age of the group and the average age of the carotid arteries is large, he said, and could have important consequences for cardiovascular health.

When there is only a 10-year difference, there is a substantial risk of cardiovascular events, Fonarow said, and "the risk of heart attack and stroke rises substantially with each additional 10 years of life."

-Carolyn Colwel

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more on atherosclerosis.



SOURCES: Gregg Fonarow, M.D., professor of medicine, and associate chief, division of cardiology, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles; Patrick M. Moriarty, M.D., director, Atherosclerosis and LDL Apheresis Center, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kan.; presentation, American Heart Association's Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention annual conference, March 12, 2009, Palm Harbor, Fla.

Last Updated: March 16, 2009

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