The tragic events of 9/11 were seen all over the world. Many first responders ran into burning buildings and spent days and months looking for survivors. Their work saved many lives, but at a cost to them.
The long-term effects of being a first responder during 9/11 are still felt today. Here are some of the long-standing issues that continue to affect those who served their community during and in the aftermath of the attack.
Many first responders have PTSD as a result of experiences on 9/11. PTSD symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and depression. These symptoms can be debilitating for some people. It can be tough to return to work or live a normal life again.
First responders at the World Trade Center site on 9/11 are at an increased risk of developing PTSD. As many as 70% of those exposed to the attacks have symptoms of PTSD. Treatment for PTSD can include medication, therapy, and support groups. However, many first responders find it hard to seek help because of the stigma associated with mental health.
Exposure to the toxins released when the Twin Towers collapsed has been linked to increased cancer risk. First responders that had exposure to the debris are at an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer, including leukemia and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has created a World Trade Center Health Program to provide screenings and treatment for first responders and others from the 9/11 attacks.
First responders who were exposed to the dust and debris at the World Trade Center site are at an increased risk of developing respiratory problems. These problems can include asthma, bronchitis, and COPD.
Asthma is the most common respiratory problem reported by first responders. As many as 20% of those who were exposed to the dust and debris at the World Trade Center site have developed asthma.
Many first responders have also developed chronic bronchitis, a lung problem that can be caused by exposure to irritants.COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a group of lung diseases that make it difficult to breathe. First responders who have COPD often experience shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing.
First responders who have respiratory problems can get treatment through the World Trade Center Health Program. The program provides free medical care and treatment for first responders and others who were exposed to the 9/11 attacks.
Exposure to the toxins released on 9/11 has also been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Symptoms of heart disease include chest pain, shortness of breath, and heart attacks. Untreated heart disease can lead to death. One can deal with heart disease by exercising, eating healthily, and not smoking.
The World Trade Center Health Program provides screenings and treatment for 9/11 first responders and other victims of the attack.
First Responders Now Need Help
The long-term effects of being a first responder during 9/11 are still being felt today. Some of the long-standing issues include respiratory, heart issues, cancer, and PTSD. Many people are working on behalf of first responders to make sure they get the compensation they deserve. First responders should contact 9/11 fund lawyers for more info.