Keeping Your Heart Healthy While Shoveling Snow

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ERIE, Pa (Erie News Now) – With the consistent snow, we’ve been getting over the past few weeks, chances are you have spent a lot of time trying to shovel it all.

While it may feel good to get it cleared off your sidewalks and driveway, over exerting yourself can cause heart issues.

“I think the thing about snow shoveling or any aggressive seasonal activity is that it can strain and stress the body in ways it may not be accustomed to”, said Dr. Matthew Becker, the Director of the Cardiology Catheterization Lab at AHN Saint Vincent.

When people spend hours doing something they aren’t used to, it can quickly tire them out especially if they have overexerted themselves which could result in a heart attack.

What signs should you look out for in a potential heart attack?

“That stereotypical chest pain or pressure or fullness or belt tightening feeling is classical. The classic description is pain, it can go into the neck, the back, the jaw, the arm pit, the left arm is classic, but it can be the right arm and it can be no arm”, explained Dr. Becker.

Dr. Becker said if after shoveling for hours if you have a tightness in your chest, maybe try taking a break, but if after that break, that tightness persists it’s time to seek help.

“The abrupt onset of pain, tightness, shortness of breathe that does not get better and it gets worse and you feel terrible and you just feel like something is very wrong, that’s just always a trip to the emergency room”, said Dr. Becker.

Even though the shoveling has to be done, Dr. Becker reminds people to pace themselves, “Be very careful of a lot of aggressive overexertion in a short amount of time.”

Dr. Becker said some of the things you can do now to prevent a heart attack from happening is by watching your cholesterol, being active, having a good diet, avoid smoking and try your best to keep your stress low.


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