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Snow days increase your chance of a heart attack

Enlist assistance when performing strenuous activities outdoors.
Enlist assistance when performing strenuous activities outdoors.
AP file photo

Heart attacks are more likely to occur during the winter months, reports the American Heart Association.

Snow shoveling and other types of physical exertion during the cold and snowy months of winter can be deadly activities to a person who has cardiovascular disease. Why?

When a person becomes cold, the natural action of the body is to narrow the blood vessels. This acts to protect the person from losing too much heat. That is great for most. However, a person who may knowingly or unknowingly suffer from ASHD (arteriosclerotic heart disease) may have an adverse response to this protective device.

As the arteries become narrow, existing plaque lining the arterial walls may cause blockage to occur. The result - Heart Attack. At the very least, a person with hypertension will place unusual strain on the heart when the narrowing occurs. This can also place the person at higher risk of a cardiac event.

The biggest culprit seems to be snow shoveling. So, doctors recommend pushing the snow instead of lifting the shovel. Perhaps a snow blower is an even better option. Of course, allowing the young healthy neighbor boy or one of your kids or grandkids to do the job for you would be your best option.

If you must do the shoveling on your own, bundle up. Keep your core as warm as possible, take frequent breaks, and remember to stop at the first sign of any symptoms. A person in the cold is likely to die up to ten times faster than a person who suffers a heart attack under more normal conditions. This is not something to ignore.

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Resources: American Heart Association


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