Interim NIOSH Training for Emergency Responders: Reducing Risks Associated with Long Work Hours

III. Personal Considerations

Doc with Patient

Lack of sleep can increase symptoms and problems for a wide range of chronic illnesses, such as these:

  • Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome
  • Headaches
  • Rheumatoid arthritis and other musculoskeletal disorders
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • High blood pressure and other heart problems
  • Stomach and digestive problems, such as ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Seizure disorders, such as epilepsy
  • Mood disorders and other mental conditions
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Reproductive problems
  • Poor eating habits leading to obesity

Even well-controlled chronic illnesses can worsen from the demands of long work hours, stress, and lack of sleep.

If you have a chronic illness, meet with your healthcare provider before deployment to discuss the impact this may have on your health and to adjust your medicines, if needed.

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Page last reviewed: April 1, 2020