I've written about how heart attacks can be precipitated by snow shoveling on this blog before - but I'm doing so yet again today, as I don't believe the dangers associated with snow shoveling can be overemphasized.
Temperatures in Montana this week have risen above freezing for the first time in a while. To avoid having icy walkways and driveways when the slush freezes after the sun goes down, many people here have been out shoveling. In parts of the United States, a big snowstorm is forecast for later in the week. This seems a good time to issue yet another warning.
My previously published article Snowmageddon Storm Warning: Protect your Heart was written from the passionate viewpoint of my first-hand experience with patients who had suffered heart attacks after shoveling snow. During numerous years of working as a cardiac care nurse in both Pennsylvania and Ohio, (where snow is usually wet and very heavy when it falls) I saw far too many patients admitted to the hospital with chest pain after shoveling snow.
Many people do not understand the deadly combination of exertion (often unaccustomed) and blood vessel constriction (a result of cold temperatures) that can occur when shoveling snow. Add in other risk factors, such as being a smoker or the stress of adding the task of shoveling to an already busy schedule; it all could add up to a heart attack just waiting to happen. Unfortunately, even if warning signs occur, people may not recognize the symptoms of a heart attack or just ignore them because they are focused on completing the task.
So, today I implore you to read (or reread) my article and share this information with people you care about. If it is not snowy where you live right now, I hope you store this information away for when and if you ever need it or have an occasion to pass it on. Even if you are young with no known cardiac history, take note of the tips offered for how to shovel snow more safely and familiarize yourself with the symptoms of a heart attack. If someone you know is elderly or has a cardiac history, please encourage them to find someone healthy and strong to shovel for them.
To read the article I have mentioned here, either search: "Snowmaggedon Storm Warning: Protect Your Heart!" or just click here.
What are your thoughts on shoveling snow?
Do you live in a place where it snows?
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