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First responder physical health risks: How to detect problems lying in wait

Take charge of your physical health and wellness so you can identify potential issues and address them before they cause trouble

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As a first responder, you are at elevated risk for hypertension, diabetes and obesity. Your chances of having a heart attack – and having one when you’re young – are higher than the general population.

Fight back against these statistics. Take charge of your physical health and wellness so you can identify potential issues and address them before they cause trouble.

When was the last time you had an annual physical? If it’s been more than a year, call and schedule one today. Don’t wait. I particularly want to talk to the men in this audience about this as your reputation for avoiding the doctor is well-earned. Please, change that paradigm!

Regular physical examinations often detect problems lying in wait. For example, controlling your weight and blood pressure are keys to avoiding obesity and hypertension, both of which are potential early signs of bigger problems to come.

Second: Diet issues. Make sure your diet includes as many whole foods as possible – fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, chicken and other lean meats. Stopping for fast food is often the go-to for hungry first responders. However, a reliance on fast food can have a negative impact on your physical health and wellness.

Lastly, make sure to get good sleep and regular cardiovascular exercise. Both are important to help you remain physically fit, recharge and heal from injuries and illness, and avoid disease.

None of this is rocket science – but it’s critically important. You must take good care of yourselves so you can take good care of your loved ones, your families, your co-workers and the communities you serve.

Get more tips from Gordon here.

Gordon Graham has been actively involved in law enforcement since 1973. He spent nearly 10 years as a very active motorcycle officer while also attending Cal State Long Beach to achieve his teaching credential, USC to do his graduate work in Safety and Systems Management with an emphasis on Risk Management, and Western State University to obtain his law degree. In 1982 he was promoted to sergeant and also admitted to the California State Bar and immediately opened his law offices in Los Angeles.

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