Staying Healthy and Reducing Stress

Charles E. Truthan, D.O., F.A.C.O.F.P.
President & Medical Director, F.D. Doc®
Copyright 1999 by FD Doc®

All people are subjected to stress on a daily basis. This includes stress at home and at work. Emergency response personnel are "blessed" with the added stresses that accompany emergency response. There is no difference in the type and amount of stress between Career and Volunteer emergency response personnel either. There is, however, a difference in how each of us responds to stress, both the personal and the work stress factors. Regardless of the source of stress, stress makes a significant impact upon our physical and mental well being.

How can we, as an individual, more effectively cope with stress? There are many different techniques available. The course you are taking today is one of them. Which stress reduction technique is right for you? The one that works for you. In general, you must recognize and acknowledge your stress factors before you can determine how to best deal with them.

You will find stress is easier to handle when you are in better physical condition as well. To this end, I offer the following 2 suggestions.

The newest "unit of measure" is the Body Mass Index (BMI). It is calculated as follows:
    weight (pounds) X 705
         height (inches)2

A BMI between 19-22 is considered to be at No increased risk, 23-24 Slightly Obese, 25-29 Moderate Obesity with a Modest risk, 30-39 Severe Obesity with Moderate Risk, 40+ Morbid Obesity with High Risk. Risk refers to the risk of developing obesity-related diseases (diabetes, heart attack, pancreatitis, etc.). Weight means weight loss. This is accomplished through proper diet and exercise. Exercise is anything over and above your normal daily activities (you do those now and you are still overweight). Walking is the best to start with. Easy on the joints and requires no special equipment. Start slow (10 minutes/day) and build up your time slowly (from 1 to 5 times per week, and from 10 to 20 or 30 minutes). Or, blow the dust off some of that exercise equipment, or your favorite recreational activity equipment and get back to it. You can not change just one of the "trinity" factors. Rather, work at each of them a little bit for best results.

Final notes:

The big key here folks, is to do all things in moderation!

When responding to an emergency, remember, The emergency belongs to the victim, not to you. So do not make their emergency – your emergency!