|Shoveling Snow? Go Slow!|
|Tuesday, January 31, 2012|
We all know the scenario: the beautiful falling snow, followed by the headache that comes with having to shovel it the next day. Well, according to a new study, folks should take it easy out there when it comes to cleaning up the “white stuff.”
A new study has confirmed the commonly held belief that strenuous snow shoveling can trigger a heart attack.
In a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Research in Cardiology, researchers reviewed patient records from two winter seasons at a hospital in Ontario, Canada, pinpointing 500 patients who arrived at the hospital with heart problems during those two winters.
Over all, about 7 percent of the patients said they were shoveling snow when heart attack symptoms began. About two-thirds of those patients were men with an average age of 63, and most had a history of premature cardiovascular disease.
The actual percentage of heart problems associated with snow shoveling may be much higher, the researcher said, since the patients were not asked specifically if they’d been shoveling snow, but rather had to volunteer that information.
In a smaller study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that most heart attacks from shoveling snow result from heavy physical exertion causing trauma to coronary arteries, which ruptures plaques that cut off blood flow. One way to lower the risk, particularly in people who smoke or rarely exercise, is to reduce sudden exertion. Experts recommend shoveling early, when snow is lighter, and taking breaks.
Dr. Crasner notes that signs and symptoms of a heart attack may include any or all of the following:
“Any of these symptoms mean you may be experiencing the early signs of a heart attack,” said Dr. Crasner. “If you have nitroglycerin sublingual tablets or spray, use accordingly, and chew/swallow three baby aspirin or one whole adult tablet. If these symptoms worsen or do not get better, call 911 in order to receive timely care at your nearest ER … this could be a life-saving move!”
Those most at risk for a heart attack include:
Be heart healthy and back friendly while shoveling this winter with these tips:
Sources: Tufts Heath & Nutrition Update, National Safety Council, CDC.