Kashmir Indepth

Snow shoveling increases risk of heart attack: DAK

SRINAGAR, JAN 02 : With fresh bout of snowfall and people clearing their sidewalks and driveways, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Wednesday said shoveling snow increases the risk of having a heart attack.

“Lifting snow is incredibly taxing on heart and can trigger a fatal heart attack,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan.

“A 2017 study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal revealed snow shoveling to heighten the risk of having a heart attack. Shoveling was found to raise the risk of heart attack by 16 percent and death from a heart attack by 34 percent,” he said.

Dr Nisar said snow shoveling causes sudden increase in blood pressure and heart rate that puts more strain on the heart.

“Combine this with icy temperatures which cause arteries to constrict and decrease blood supply, you have a perfect storm for a heart attack,” he added.

Dr Nisar said people at greatest risk are those who are habitually sedentary with known or suspected heart disease, who go out once a year to clear the snow.

“I advise heart patients not to shovel snow at all,” he said

“Even people without cardiovascular issues have to be careful when they do it because heart attacks with snow shoveling were observed among people with no cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol,” cautioned Dr Nisar.

He said methods such as using a small shovel that moves less snow, as well as pushing snow as opposed to lifting it may lead to less strain on heart. It is vital to pace yourself while shoveling, taking frequent breaks and to stay well hydrated at the same time.

“Dressing in layers, use of gloves, socks and covering your head, neck and face will help,” said Dr Nisar.

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