Farmers are seven times more likely to die from heart disease
Farmers are seven times more likely to die from cardiovascular diseases than people working in other professions.
The shock revelation came in an Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) study conducted across special free screenings of farmers at marts, fairs and ploughing events around Ireland.
The IHF study, entitled 'Farmers Have Hearts' and conducted with Carlow Institute of Technology (CIT), was launched with the warning from health promotion expert Maureen Mulvihill that farmers need to take better care of themselves.
An analysis of the screenings found that 86pc of farmers tested were overweight or obese; 82pc had a family history of heart disease or stroke; almost 50pc of farmers had either high blood pressure or excessive cholesterol levels; and 63pc of farmers admitted to feeling stressed.
Around 80pc of farmers screened were found to have so many indicators of potential cardiac issues, they were advised to go for an immediate health check with their GP.
The majority screened were found to have up to four major indicators of potential cardiovascular problems.
"These extremely high levels of risk factors demonstrate why farmers are at such risk of heart disease and stroke," Ms Mulvihill said. "Not surprisingly, most of the farmers were advised to see their GP by our health check nurses.
"After 12 weeks, it was encouraging to see almost a third had followed up with their doctor but we need all farmers advised to see their GP to do so.
"The high level of risk factors among farmers is related to various factors such as family history, the perception among farmers that their active and outdoor occupation is 'healthier', and the 24/7 work-life limiting opportunity to get GP check-ups."
The IHF said that the study was a clear warning to farmers to take better care of themselves.