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Health Issue: Will it Disqualify me, Please Read!!!

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  • Health Issue: Will it Disqualify me, Please Read!!!

    Hi everyone,

    I have a question regarding going through the medical exam. I am 21 years old, and have led a healthy life. However, last year, I was tested and told that I have what is called Mitral Valve Prolapse, which is basically a defect in my mitral valve in the heart that causes it ( the valve ) to flap backwards at times, allowing blood that has been through there to fall back in again. I was told many people have this condition, and they don't even know it. My condition could have been onset for years until my symptoms showed up last year. These symptoms include heart palpitations and irregular / accelerated heart beat.

    Well, I was put on a beta blocker, which is a medication that slows down the heart rate and lowers blood pressure, so that the mitral valve can function better, as it should. This does NOT correct the issue, as I was told this is structural in my heart. It just controls my symptoms of palpitations and irregular / accelerated heart beat. My Doctor has said that my condition of Mitral Valve Prolapse is not a severe one at all. For this, I'm on the LOWEST DOSAGE of my beta blocker at 12.5mg. This is one-half a pill daily.

    My question to all of you great LEOs out there is: Will this condition and / or the fact of taking a beta blocker disqualify / prevent me from becoming a police officer?

    I'm currently a college student, and I have just about all of my general education courses completed. I'm running out of time to choose a major, and one major I have in mind is Criminal Justice. I just wanted to see what all of you thought about this. A career counselor at school has suggested that I contact a few departments around where I live to get a high-ranking officer or hiring officer's opinion on this matter as well.

    I just don't want to go through ALL the CJ classes, obtain the degree, and then find out I can only do "desk work." No offense, but if I want to do desk work and paper work, I'll major in Business. But, I'd love to become a police officer, and this condition needs to be brought up so I know if I should major in Criminal Justice or not.

    Again, this condition will NOT go away on its own. My medication doesn't cure it... it just controls it. I had to make some changes in diet as well, such as a severe cut-down from caffeine and getting the proper amount of sleep.

    Thank you,

    Joe

    PS: I'm not sure how this condition affects my running. The last time I ran a mile was in my Junior year of high school. I'm sure I could run a mile just as fast as I did then, and not have any problems, provided I have taken my medicine on that particular day. I know there is a mile or two-mile run required for police testing.

  • #2
    Have you considered surgery?

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    • #3
      I would suggest that you talk to your doctor about your chosen vocation. My wife has this condition. I have known her to lose consciousness during aerobic activity. This could be a very bad thing for you given the nature of this job.
      Last edited by Jaekhammer; 09-27-2009, 08:17 PM. Reason: typo

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      • #4
        I would suggest that you talk to your doctor about your chosen vocation. I know people with this condition who pass out during short aerobic activities or when there is a sudden adrenalin dump. This could be very bad for you.

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        • #5
          Take a look at http://www.post.ca.gov/selection/pdf/Cardio.pdf

          It will spell out the implications of heart conditions for people in law enforcement positions. It also indicates taking beta blockers may effect your maximum exercise capacity and compromise your performance during a critical incident
          Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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          • #6
            Departments vary. Some depts feel the need to err on the side of caution and not take a chance. Other depts may require that you simply produce documentation from your doctor, that you are fit to work as a police officer. From what I've read recently, your condition is not life-threatening unless it's a severe case. I understand it can be treated and alot of people have the condition and dont even know it. In any event, in my opinion your condition would not totally prevent you from being a police officer. Again, I think it comes down to finding the ideal dept that would work with you come your medical screening etc..

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            • #7
              It will depend on the person in charge of hiring. Call around and ask some recruiters, they may have run across this situation before and fully understand...worth a shot.

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              • #8
                Okay, you're asking a Medical question that most of us are not qualified to answer. Your condition will be judged according the medical standards of any agency your apply to. OK. If you haven't already done so, I'd suggest you consult with a Cardiologist, and explore some treatment options for your condition. I'd make that recommendation regardless of what your career ambitions were. Hope things work out for you.

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                • #9
                  Thank you to all who have answered. I may contact some departments around here and see what they say. Someone mentioned me going for surgery... In reply to that, my condition is NOT at the point where I need surgery or valve replacement thankfully. I'm supposed to go next year again for an ECHO test to see how the condition is. The Doctor wants me to go every two years for the ultrasound test. Thanks again for all of your answers. I will take them into consideration.

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