(CNN) — Working as a flight attendant previously afforded Mitra Amirzadeh the freedom to explore the world — taking her from her home in Florida to destinations including Kenya, France and Spain.

As the pandemic spread, the perks of Amirzadeh’s job diminished. Now restricted to domestic US flights, her work involves navigating not only the fear of catching Covid-19, but also the recent uptick in disruptive passengers.

“I’m dealing with a lot of babysitting, which I never counted on doing,” Amirzadeh, who works for a low-cost US airline, tells CNN Travel. “The actual children on board behave better than the grown adults do.”

US flight attendants tell CNN Travel say the stress of the situation is taking its toll,

Susannah Carr, who works for a major US airline, says unruly incidents used to be “the exception, not the rule.” Now they’re “frequent.”

“I come in expecting to get push back. I come in expecting to have a passenger that could potentially get violent,” she says.

Amirzadeh says flight attendants across US airlines are just “over it.”

Allie Malis, a flight attendant for American Airlines, says air crew are “exhausted — physically and emotionally.”

“We’ve gone through worrying about our health and safety, worrying about our jobs — now [we are] worrying about our safety in a different way.”

The rise of air rage

There seems to be a rise in unruly passengers on board US airplanes. Pictured here: airplanes at Miami International Airport in August 2021.

There seems to be a rise in unruly passengers on board US airplanes. Pictured here: airplanes at Miami International Airport in August 2021.

DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images

This increase was often linked to cabins getting fuller, with increased security checks and processes adding to tension.

In 2019, Malis, who is also the government affairs representative at the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, a union representing American Airlines air crew, spoke to CNN Travel about the decrease of personal seat space. She said her union believed it is “strongly correlated and in a large part to blame” for the rise in incidents.

Alcohol is also an often cited contributing factor — travelers drink at the airport and board the plane without crew realizing how inebriated they are. When it all kicks off at 30,000 feet, it’s too late.

There have been suggestions that incidents just started to feel more ubiquitous in recent years because social media means videos of badly behaved passengers spread like wildfire.

But while FAA data might show fluctuating figures for much of the past 20 years, in 2021, incidents seem to have sky rocketed. In 2019, 146 investigations were initiated by the FAA. So far in 2021 that number is 727.

Covid-19 seems to have exacerbated an already existing issue to an unprecedented degree, at least in the US.

Amirzadeh recalls the silent flights of Spring 2020. People were too fearful to even look at other passengers or air crew, she says, let alone cause conflict.

In recent months, unruly behavior has reached new heights.

“It just seems like every next incident is getting a little bit more extreme, things

Audio Articles on Hometown Focus is sponsored by Clarity Hearing Center!

 

Q: I have a very physical job as a stonemason, but it doesn’t seem to keep my weight or my cholesterol level down. Why should I still have to go to the gym when I’m hauling things and moving around for hours every day? —Leon T., Pittsburgh

A: That’s a great question that applies to millions of folks with jobs as diverse as firefighter, ballet dancer and nurse. You may be interested to know that a Business Insider investigation evaluated the time spent walking or running, stamina and strength required by various jobs, and found that the most physically demanding was being a dancer. Your job ranked 18th out of 27.

As hard as you work, amped-up physical demands from a job don’t translate to physical health, according to a new 10-year study in the European Heart Journal. Researchers found that folks who were active at work increased their risk of cardiovascular issues, and their risk of death went up 13 percent (for high activity) and 27 percent (for very high activity) compared with folks who had low-activity jobs. It seems folks with physically demanding jobs tend to take it easy and indulge when they’re off the clock. Plus, repeated heavy lifting raises blood pressure, and on-the-job walking is rarely brisk enough to increase heart rate. That adds up to a less-healthy lifestyle.

The study also showed that moderate, high and very high amounts of leisure-time activity provide major protection: The risk of death over those 10 years was reduced by 26 percent, 41 percent and 40 percent, respectively, compared with folks with low leisure-time activity. So take a look at what you’re doing after work that’s hard on your heart and adding pounds. Try leisure activities like interval walking for 30 minutes, yoga or tai chi. And upgrade your diet. You know the drill: more plants, no added sugars, less saturated fat and highly processed foods, and moderate alcohol intake.

Q: My doctor gave me an hs-CRP blood test. He said it was necessary because I’m very overweight and have diabetes. It came back at around 4 mg/L, which he said is high. What does it all mean? —Sandra M., Evanston, Illinois

A: CRP is a protein made by your liver and sent into your bloodstream in response to inflammation. Elevated levels in your blood indicate some kind of bodily distress, such as a chronic condition or a temporary infection.

There are two kinds of CRP tests. The hs-CRP, or highsensitivity

C-reactive protein, test is recommended for folks over 35 and those at high risk of developing coronary artery disease (CAD) and heart attack. A reading of 3.0mg/L or above indicates that you’re at increased risk of all of the conditions inflammation causes, such as heart attacks, strokes, cancers and dementia. Do ask your doctor about getting a second hs-CRP test to confirm results and a blood test for LDL lousy cholesterol, good HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

TUESDAY, April 13, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Going for a brisk walk after a long day at work may be better for your heart than getting all of your exercise on the job.

New research suggests that while current health guidelines indicate that leisure-time activity and physical activity at work are created equally when it comes to heart health benefits, this may not be the case after all.

Leisure-time exercise — whether it be taking a walk, jogging or hopping on your Peloton bike after a hard day’s work — can improve heart health, but only getting your exercise on the job seems to increase heart risks.

This is what’s known as the “physical activity paradox,” said study author Andreas Holtermann, a professor at the National Research Centre for the Working Environment in Copenhagen, Denmark.

“Leisure physical activity leads to fitness, improved health and well-being, but work physical activity leads to fatigue, no fitness gain, and elevated heart rate and blood pressure over the day without sufficient rest,” Holtermann said.

For the study, researchers asked close to 104,000 people (aged 20 to 100 years) from the Copenhagen General Population Study to rate their leisure-time and employment physical activity as low, moderate, high or very high.

There were more than 7,900 major cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes, and about 9,850 deaths overall during an average of 10 years of follow-up. The more leisure-time physical activity a person reported, the lower their risk of dying or experiencing a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular event.

By contrast, folks who said they got most of their physical activity on the job were more likely to die or sustain a cardiovascular event than those people who reported less manual labor. The findings held even after the researchers controlled for other factors that affect heart and stroke risks, such as weight, alcohol intake, smoking status, cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

Something has to change, Holtermann said.

“Work ought to be organized, so the worker not become too fatigued or exhausted, with sufficient time/ability for recovery, so they have energy to do the health-promoting activities at leisure,” he said. “The worker ought to take responsibility for…improving physical activity during leisure, as well as getting sufficient recovery to recuperate from work.”

In an editorial accompanying the new study, Martin Halle and Melanie Heitkamp, of the Technical University of Munich in Germany, also called for change. “Companies should offer breaks and recovery time during work, sufficient recreational breaks and complementary exercise training for their employees, especially for workers in heavy manual jobs,” they wrote.

The research was published April 9 in the European Heart Journal.

Two American cardiologists agreed that leisure-time physical activity is important for promoting heart health and that occupational activity can be deleterious.

“In general, leisure-time physical activity, which is often of the endurance type, promotes cardiovascular health and reduces the risk of suffering a fatal heart attack,” said Dr. Evan Appelbaum, director of Men’s Health Boston. He was not involved