Clearing sidewalks and driveways is essential to avoid being blocked. But be careful when picking up the shovel or starting the snow blower. Studies show that many people face an increased risk of heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest after shoveling heavy snow.
In fact, the American Heart Association scientific statement, “Exercise-Related Acute Cardiovascular Events and Potential Harms Long-Term Post-Exercise Training Adaptation: Putting Risks into Perspective – Update. Many Others Over the Years” Scientific research studies have also confirmed the dangers of shoveling snow for people with or without previous known heart disease.
“Scrubbing a little snow off your sidewalk may not seem like a daunting task,” says lead author of the Scientific Statement and longtime American Heart Association volunteer, University of Oakland Williams. Dr. Barry Franklin, professor of internal medicine, FAHA said. Beaumont College of Medicine. “But research we conducted found that heavy snow shoveling strains can put more strain on the heart than undergoing a treadmill stress test. heart rate exceeded 85% of maximum heart rate, which is the level typically expected during a test of vigorous aerobic exercise.The effects are most severe in the most ill-fitting individuals.”
Franklin said winter weather in general can contribute to increased risk. Cold temperatures raise blood pressure and constrict the coronary arteries. These factors, combined with the increased heart rate from extra exercise, can increase the risk of acute heart disease. There’s even a study showing an increased risk of heart attack among people who use snowplows.
“The effects of snow removal are of particular concern for people who already have cardiovascular risks, such as sedentary lifestyles and obesity; being current or former smokers; or diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure; So do people who have had heart attacks and strokes,” Franklin said. “People with these characteristics and those who have had bypass surgery or coronary angioplasty should not shovel snow.”
Stop the activity immediately if you experience chest pain or tightness, lightheadedness, palpitations, or irregular heartbeat. If you stop shoveling snow and the symptoms do not go away immediately, call 119. If you see someone collapsed while shoveling snow, get help and start Hands-Only CPR if the person is pulseless and unresponsive.
Learn about colds and cardiovascular health at Heart.org.