It’s Wisconsin’s first major snowfall. Be careful out there while driving — and shoveling.
The combination of colder temperatures and the physical exertion of shoveling your driveway increases the workload on the heart. That’s the warning from the American Heart Association. Shoveling snow could be one of the most strenuous winter activities — especially if you unknowingly have narrowing of the arteries.
If you have to shovel, Dr. Kyle Martin, Medical Director at St. Mary’s Emergency Department in Madison, suggests you start with some warm-up exercises. Also, don’t overdo it.
While any one of us could suffer from a heart attack without warning, Dr. Martin says some folks are more susceptible, including those who are obese, have diabetes, high blood pressure, or smoke.
Martin suggests you try using a smaller shovel that carries less weight, know the heart attack warning signs, don’t eat a heavy meal prior or soon after shoveling, and take small, frequent breaks.
Hospitals are pretty busy after a storm, with all kinds of snow and ice-related injuries. However, Martin says, transportation to the hospital during the snowfall can be more dangerous than the injury itself.
For more information, visit your physician or call the American Heart Association at 800-AHA-USA1 or visit online at www.americanheart.org.
Jackie Johnson 1:38