January 28, 2015
Heart Attack Risks From Shoveling Show Are Real

Heart attack and musculoskeletal injuries are real risks during snowstorms. Shoveling snow during the Blizzard of 2015 has sent a man from Trumbull, Connecticut, to the emergency room. On Tuesday, an 80-year-old man suffered a heart attack while shoveling snow, according to NECN. A family member performed CPR emergency services arrived and took him to the hospital.

According to The Washington Post, more than 34,000 people went to emergency rooms for injuries related to snow removal in 2012. The most common reasons for people to go to the emergency room during and immediately after snowstorms are heart attack and orthopedic injury.

John G. Harold, president of the American College of Cardiology, discourages patients with known heart conditions from shoveling snow. However, even people who have not been diagnosed with heart conditions, but have risk factors such as smoking or high blood pressure, need to be careful. He says to watch for symptoms of heart distress such as tightness, pain, or burning in the chest or shortness of breath.

Also, pain in other parts of the body may be more than just a sign of fatigue or overexertion. Harold said,

"It's all about common sense and logic, and when you sense something is going wrong, don't force yourself through it."

WABC-TV reports that The American Heart Association has developed some tips to help prevent injury while shoveling snow. Some of those tips include: resting frequently and taking note of how you feel; not eating a heavy meal before or soon after shoveling; using a small shovel or a snow blower; and dressing in layers to prevent hypothermia.

Women need to take extra care when shoveling snow as well because heart attack is less likely to be diagnosed in women. Inquisitr reports that although annually roughly the same number of women dies of heart attacks as men, less than half the estimated number of women who actually have heart attacks report having had one. Also, women are reported to suffer symptoms not regularly associated with heart attack including nausea, fatigue, vomiting, and feeling light headed.

Shoveling snow is a strenuous activity, so consult your doctor before undertaking the job, especially if you have a heart condition, are older, are overweight, or if you do not exercise regularly. Listen to your body. If you feel any symptoms that resemble those of a heart attack, stop and get it checked out. Minutes count when it comes to heart attacks.

Image: Mikey Network