Firefighting activities are extremely stressful to the body; the true physiological effects of firefighting are often underestimated. Approximately 45% of line-of-duty deaths in firefighters are cardiac-related; nearly 90% of these occur in firefighters over the age of 40.
The physical intensity of firefighting has been shown to cause a reduction in plasma volume and increased blood viscosity; an increase in platelet number and function; an increase in clotting potential; a reduction in arterial function; and an increase in oxidative stress and inflammation.
Due to these significant vascular and hemostatic changes, it is important that firefighters take every measure possible to protect themselves from possible cardiac events. This study shows that low dose aspirin can positively influence the negative physiologic factors associated with firefighting.
As the statutory fire academy for Illinois, the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) serves firefighters throughout Illinois and the world. The mission of the Illinois Fire Service Institute is to help firefighters do their work through training, education, information and research. IFSI’s Learning Resource and Research Center houses the Firefighter Life Safety Research Center where IFSI's research is carried out by experienced scientists who conduct applied research that addresses real-world health and safety challenges facing first responders. The Center's research is enhanced by its affiliation with one of the premier research universities in the United States, the University of Illinois.