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  • Does snow shoveling carry heart attack risks?
  • December 6, 2013
  • shoveling heart attacksBy Emily Miller

    Regardless of your age or current health status, life insurance is an essential financial tool that can reduce the medical concerns if an unexpected disaster should arise. And as we approach the snow months here in the Midwest, we need to be reminded that snow shoveling is a major cause of heart attacks. Emergency rooms expect more visitors this season due to inclement weather conditions. Check with your doctor to make sure that you are in appropriate physical condition to either shovel or use a snowblower.

    In recent years a slew of major snowstorms placed individuals at a higher risk of heart attacks, back injuries and other health problems brought on by strenuous activities of clearing out driveways and sidewalks with a shovel.

    Many buy snowblowers to make their jobs easier but pushing one that is too heavy will create similar issues. Most are anxious to get their drives and paths cleared quickly for moving vehicles but frequent breaks are also neccessary to avoid injury so it is essential to take your time.

    People who have coronary artery disease, high cholesterol, peripheral arterial disease (PAD) or over a certain age should not shovel snow because it could trigger a heart attack. The cold temperatures combined with such a rigorous activity increase the risk of a heart attack because the arteries constrict thus increasing one’s blood pressure.

    According the 2012 U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission report, more than 42,200 people were treated for injuries sustained during snow removal. While most have orthopedic injuries, 7 percent have cardiac problems, and many of those were heart attacks.

    With that in mind, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers the following safety tips for snow removal:

    General Tips:

    – Avoid heavy meals before and soon after snow removal

    – Avoid consuming alcoholic beverages before or soon after snow removal

    – Dress in light layered clothing, with all extremities covered such as hands, feet and head.


    – Push the snow rather than lifting it.

    – Do not throw the snow over your shoulders or to the side. Instead, walk to where you want to dump it.

    – Clear snow early and often.

    – Pace yourself and replenish with fluid to prevent dehydration.

    – Use a smaller shovel to avoid moving heavy loads of snow, as this can raise blood pressure quickly.

    Snow Blowing:

    – Follow instructions

    – Never stick your hands or feet in the snow blower

    – Do no leave the snow blower unattended when it is running

    – Always be aware of the snow blower cord

    No matter what time of year it is, taking steps to protect your family with life insurance can be just as important as taking the necessary measures to remain healthy and physically fit.

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