Today marks 11 years since the biggest terrorist attack on our country. Most people will forever remember where they were the moment they heard what had happened.
I was living in Queens at that time and worked in an Emergency Room in a hospital in Manhattan. Having lost a few paramedic friends and seeing others struggle with post traumatic stress disorders in the following months, I still to this day get very sad and quiet on the anniversary.
Today, as I watched the replays of news coverage, a reporter reminded me that we lost 343 firefighters in the line of duty in NYC on that day. That is a staggering number and my thoughts and prayers are still with those who lost loved ones.
There is however another very disturbing statistic about the firefighters' deaths that doesn’t get national coverage. According to the National Fire Protection Association, last year there were 61 deaths among on duty fire fighters in the U.S. and half of those were from a sudden cardiac death. Thirty-two firemen went to work last year willing to die to save someone’s life from a tragic event, and suddenly succumbed to a heart disease they were very likely not even aware they had.
The statistics about heart disease and fatalities are often lost in all other causes of death numbers, but below are a few facts ( from the Heart Foundation site) that might make you pause for a second and ask yourself…How did we get here?
Every 33 seconds someone in the United States dies from cardiovascular disease which is roughly the equivalent of a September 11th-like tragedy repeating itself every 24 hours, 365 days a year.
More die of heart disease than of AIDS and all cancers combined.
This year more than 920,000 Americans will have a heart attack; nearly half of them will occur without prior symptoms or warning signs.
250,000 Americans die annually of Sudden Cardiac Death – 680 every day of the year.
One-half of the victims of Sudden Cardiac Death are under the age of 65.
Heart disease is preventable and often reversible, but that also rarely makes the national news coverage.
Please watch CNN special called “The Last Heart Attack” with Sanjay Gupta (link below), as it might help you feel empowered to take your health into your own hands. This could save your life.
Iwona Leger, RN, MSN, Health Coach, owns Love and Peas Health Coaching and runs individual and group coaching sessions. She is very passionate about disease prevention, lifestyle and diet modifications, as well as stress reduction techniques.
For more info visit www.loveandpeashealth.com
Editor's Note: This blog was submitted on Sept. 11 but was not published until Sept. 12. I apologize for the delay.