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Snow shoveling can cause heart attacks because the combination of colder temperatures with high physical exertion puts extra strain on the heart. No matter who you are, sudden exertion in cold weather could pose a risk to your health.
Harvard Medical School shares that each year, about 100 people (mostly men) die during or shortly after shoveling the snow and that hundreds more seek emergency medical care due to chest pains or other heart-related issues.
If you live in a place that receives heavy snowfall each winter, shoveling snow is almost second-nature. When the snow goes unshoveled, walkways to our home, driveways, and sidewalks become more dangerous and a burden to walk in. However, the simple act of shoveling snow can be dangerous in itself.
If you fall into any of the following categories or experience the following symptoms, please consult with your doctor before even thinking about shoveling snow:
If it is absolutely necessary for you to shovel snow this winter, the American Heart Association wants you to keep in mind these ways to make the process safer:
Check out our list of even safer ways to shovel snow.
Do not take snow shoveling lightly. It is important to be aware of just how dangerous this seemingly-simple household chore can be. If the temperatures drop below freezing and your body is not prepared for such intense physical activity, avoid snow shoveling at all costs.
Understanding the dangers of snow shoveling can save your life as well as the lives of others. If you or a nearby neighbor are visibly struggling to shovel snow, or even move around in the colder temperatures, call for emergency help immediately.
The best way to stay on top of your heart health is to read up on everything you should know about heart disease and then maintain a lifestyle that will keep your heart in its best shape. Download our free guide, “The Heart Disease Facts That Could Change Your Life” to learn more.