Shoveling snow can put a strain on anyone’s heart, but people with medical conditions or those who don’t exercise regularly are particularly at risk of heart attacks.
During the winter months, many people spend snowy mornings shoveling their sidewalks and driveways.
Can shoveling snow increase heart attack risk?
Yes, shoveling snow can increase heart attack risk. People with underlying health problems and those who don’t exercise regularly are at higher risk of suffering a heart attack while shoveling, medical experts say.
WHAT WE FOUND
Shoveling snow is one of those strenuous physical activities that can put extra strain on a person’s heart and increase the risk of heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest. according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
“Numerous scientific research studies over the years have identified the dangers of shoveling snow for people with and without prior history of heart disease,” the AHA said.
Both the exertion of shoveling snow and the conditions in which you shovel snow can be hard on your heart, the Cleveland Clinic and other experts say.
“The sudden increase in blood pressure and heart rate puts a lot of strain on your heart,” cardiologist Marc Samsky, MD, told VERIFY. “This is exacerbated by the cold air, which can also cause your blood vessels to constrict and increase your blood pressure, putting more strain on your heart.”
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While shoveling snow can put additional strain on anyone’s heart, the risk of heart attack is higher for people with certain health conditions and other risk factors.
This includes people with existing heart disease, people with high blood pressure or high cholesterol, people who are obese or have other cardiovascular risks, such as a heart attack or stroke.
People with these conditions and risk factors, as well as those who have had bypass surgery or coronary angioplasty, should not shovel snow, said Barry Franklin, Ph.D., an AHA grantee and expert on the science behind the cardiovascular risks of shoveling snow.
Experts say people who are relatively healthy and exercise regularly have a lower risk of heart attack while shoveling snow.
“If someone exercises regularly and is free of cardiac risk factors, their . . . risk is lower than someone who has high risk factors and does not exercise,” said cardiologist Kerry Stewart, MD.
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To reduce the risk of a heart attack or cardiac event while shoveling snow, experts recommend shoveling regularly during the storm, taking frequent breaks, and staying hydrated.
The American Heart Association also recommends pushing snow with a shovel rather than physically lifting and throwing it.
Although it’s generally less intense to use a snowblower than a shovel, some studies have shown that people who use automated snowblowers are still at an increased risk of heart attacks. Pushing the heavy snowblower can also quickly increase your heart rate and blood pressure, according to the AHA.
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https://www.kvue.com/article/news/verify/health-verify/shoveling-snow-can-increase-heart-attack-risk-especially-for-certain-groups/536-c92d9ae3-b564-46df-a042-163230d88261 The risk of a heart attack can increase when shoveling snow