WESTFIELD, Mass (WWLP) – Winter finally hit western Massachusetts. The risk of a heart attack from shoveling is a serious concern. If you don’t exercise regularly, and have health issues, you’re the one most at risk for a heart attack.
Chief of the Emergency Department at Baystate Noble Hospital, Dr. Jacques Blanchete, told 22News, he sees an increase in heart attacks every winter. “We see every year, especially with the first heavy snow. We see people who get out there and have not done any physical activity, and then they shovel and then they’re at risk for a heart attack or even sudden death.”
To minimize the strain on your heart, take smaller shovelfuls. Push the snow, rather than lift it. Use your knees and keep your back straight and don’t hunch over when shoveling snow. Dr. Blanchette said use the strength from your legs.
The American Heart Association recommends you not eat a heavy meal before or after shoveling because it can put an extra strain on your heart. Brian Beneway of Russell said, “I make sure I don’t be more work than my body allows me to do,” which is exactly what doctors recommend.
Avoiding alcohol is important because alcohol can increase your sensation of warmth and make you underestimate the strain on your body.
Also, dress in layers to stay warm, and wear a hat, to avoid losing body heat. Heart failure causes the most deaths in people suffering from hyperthermia. And if you need help, ask for it.
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