Mesa medical group dedicated to helping first responders live longer

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Heart Fit for Duty is a Mesa medical practice devoted to assessing and improving the lives of first responders. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Heart Fit for Duty is a Mesa medical practice devoted to assessing and improving the lives of first responders. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Police officers and firefighters are 30 percent more likely to develop serious health problems than people in other professions, according to medical experts. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Police officers and firefighters are 30 percent more likely to develop serious health problems than people in other professions, according to medical experts. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
'I think we try very hard to identify what they can do now to prevent the heart attack, prevent the stroke ... from stopping them in their tracks," nurse practitioner and co-founder of Heart Fit for Duty Megan McCarthy said. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) 'I think we try very hard to identify what they can do now to prevent the heart attack, prevent the stroke ... from stopping them in their tracks," nurse practitioner and co-founder of Heart Fit for Duty Megan McCarthy said. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: El Mirage Police Dept.) (Source: El Mirage Police Dept.)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Mesa police Sgt. Efren Carmona knows how stressful his job is and the toll it can take on his health.

"Any day and anytime during our shift, we can be involved in a foot pursuit, a vehicle pursuit, or some type of physical pursuit where we are fighting somebody for our lives," Carmona said. "We have to meet those demands, and certainly if you're not in shape, not working out, not taking care of yourself, anything can happen."

Police officers and firefighters are 30 percent more likely to develop serious health problems than people in other professions, according to medical experts.

There are several reasons for that.

  • Stress of the job
  • Not enough sleep
  • Poor food choices during work hours
  • Lack of exercise.

Last month, an El Mirage police officer collapsed and died while running after a suspect. Paul Lazinsky, a 58-year old police veteran, had a heart attack.

[READ MORE: Dozens gather to remember fallen El Mirage police officer]

Megan McCarthy is a nurse practitioner and co-founder of Heart Fit for Duty, a Mesa medical practice devoted to assessing and improving the lives of first responders.

"I think we try very hard to identify what they can do now to prevent the heart attack, prevent the stroke, prevent cancer from stopping them in their tracks," she said.

Over the years, Heart Fit for Duty has helped more than 6,500 police officers and firefighters live healthier lives. McCarthy and her team are determined to help more.  

"If we can get them to manage their risk factors better and to exercise smarter and do things you are supposed to do, it goes a long way towards keeping them safe," said McCarthy.

Most police departments do not require officers have a yearly physical, according to McCarthy.

She recommends that all first responders get an annual stress and health assessment, regardless of their age or fitness level.


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