How Cold Weather Activities Can Impact Heart Health From Harlem To The Hudson

Check out this weather. Clearing sidewalks and driveways may be essential to keep them from being closed.

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 in Perspective – Update. Many Other Scientific Studies Over the Years.” 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, a longtime American Heart Association volunteer, and MD of the Oakland Department of Internal Medicine. Professor Barry Franklin, Ph.D., FAHA said. William Beaumont University School of Medicine. “But a study we conducted showed that the intense strain of shoveling 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 increased heart rate from extra physical exertion, may increase the risk of acute cardiac events. There’s even research.Just like pushing a shovel, pushing a snowplow causes a rapid increase in heart rate and blood pressure.

“The effects of snow removal are of particular concern for people with pre-existing cardiovascular risks, such as sedentary lifestyles and obesity; being current or former smokers; or diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure; heart So do people who have had seizures or strokes,” Franklin said. “People with these characteristics or 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 there is no pulse and no response.

Learn about colds and cardiovascular health at

Photo credit: Getty Images.

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