Roanoke Va, and surrounding areas recently experienced the third largest snow storm ever recorded. In many locations, there was over 20 inches of snow. Vehicles, lamp posts, and mail boxes were covered. Small animals got lost, and adults played like children in the winter wonderland.
There was also another side to the snow fall. Businesses closed, people were stranded, there were accidents, and a few weather related deaths.. My Facebook news feed was filled with women, saying they had to shovel the snow.Thankfully there were no serious complications, only sore muscles.
Days later, I was informed of two men, who had heart attacks while shoveling snow. One was in his 30’s, and he survived. The other was 59. He fell dead in his home, shortly after he came in out of the snow. If you are not already in pretty good shape, and do not exercise on a regular basis, you might be at risk of a heart attack if you shovel snow.
According to Patrick Skerrett, executive editor for Harvard Health, shoveling snow is a known heart attack trigger. He believes the reason is because people aggressively tackle pounds of snow with shovels, when they have not been physically active for months.
He adds, that Pushing a heavy snow blower can also put a strain on the heart. In addition, cold weather may raise blood pressure, interrupt blood flow to part of the heart, and cause blood to be more likely to form clots.
Skerritt says, that if you need to remove snow, you should remember, that this activity can be more strenuous than “exercising full throttle on a treadmill”. If you are healthy and fit, this is no problem.. It can however, be dangerous if you are not.
In the December 2010 issue of the Heart Letter, a study done at the University of Virginia Medical Center suggests that those who have received an artery-opening stent in the preceding year or so should be especially careful about clearing snow.
Here are six tips that will help you shovel snow safely:
1. Warm up your muscles before starting.
2. Shovel many light loads instead of a few heavy ones.
3. Drink lots of water
4. Take frequent breaks.
5. Don’t feel obligated to clean every inch of snow
6. If you notice any changes such as racing heart, chest pain shortness of breath, or lightheartedness go indoor quickly If you believe you are having a heart attack dial 911 or the emergency number in your area.