Heart Attacks and Snow Shoveling

By: Keith Jones Email
By: Keith Jones Email

The American Heart Association says winter is the top season for heart attacks.

With temperatures dropping, a stressful holiday season fast approaching, and less and less daylight, all on top of winter weather, one particular activity causes the most heart attacks.

The AHA says that shoveling snow in winter leads to 53 percent more heart attacks than occur due to other activities during the summer, but there are things you can do to lower that number.

"Their blood pressure may be up from that long day at work. Going out and shoveling the snow will increase the stress, increase the blood pressure, heart rate, even more," says Gary Mullis, a firefighter and paramedic.

He says when the holidays come, people tend to forget about their health. So when you're out shoveling the snow, pay attention to your body's warning signs.

Mullis says, "Never dismiss it as something that's indigestion or it'll go away because we always say time is muscle, and heart muscle, when it's damaged, it's damaged."

According to the AHA, heart attack rates jump dramatically in the first few days after a major snowstorm, usually as a result of snow shoveling.

They say if you're over the age of 50, overweight or out of shape or have suffered a previous heart attack, don't even pick up that shovel. If you do, be careful.

"Lift with your legs and not so much with your back and try to avoid any twisting," says Mullis. "So lift with your legs, pick it up, and dump it wherever you put it."

Proper form makes shoveling easier on your body, but if you're still having trouble, ask for help.

"Take breaks, don't go out there and do it all at one time," says Mullis. "If you have underlying problems, we live in an area where neighbors help each other so that's a good thing."

Mullis says a person experiencing a heart attack may not even be sure of what's happening because the symptoms may not be recognized. The Staunton Fire Station says acting quickly can save lives, and you're asked to call 911 if someone is experiencing chest pain.


WHSV.com is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

Keep it clean, keep it civil, keep it truthful, stay on topic, be responsible, no links, share your knowledge, and please suggest removal of comments that violate these standards.

powered by Disqus
WHSV-TV3
50 North Main Street Harrisonburg, VA 22801 540-433-9191 - Switchboard 540-433- 4028 - Fax 540-433-2700 - News Fax

WSVF Public Inspection File

Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 12523511 - whsv.com/a?a=12523511