Shoveling snow could lead to heart attacks, cardiologists say

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — If you’re grabbing that shovel to dig your way out of the snow, doctors say to be careful because it could lead to a heart attack.


Jim Paulson, of Sioux Falls, shovels part of his driveway before using the snow blower to clear the rest during the first snow of the season Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in Sioux Falls. (Joe Ahlquist/The Argus Leader via AP)

Emergency rooms report seeing an increase of heart attack patients during snow events and doctors say most of the patients are those who shovel snow in the cold weather. They say it requires more energy than people think and it significantly raises your blood pressure and heart rate.

The cold weather also constricts your blood vessels and doctors say the combination could lead to heart problems.

“The most important thing is to listen to your body,” said Dr. Mohit Pasi, a cardiologist with UNC REX Healthcare. “Use common sense and take frequent breaks. If you don’t do that, you have a higher chance of heart attack so you have to be careful.”

Cardiologists also recommend wearing a lot of layers. If you get any chest discomfort or tightness, stop shoveling and call your doctor or 9-1-1.

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