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Shoveling snow? How it could be potentially fatal

(Source: WAVE 3 News)
(Source: WAVE 3 News)
Updated: Jan. 15, 2018 at 4:45 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Shoveling snow is not just another household chore. You really have to be careful.

According to the National Safety Council nationwide, snow shoveling is responsible for thousands of injuries and as many as 100 deaths each year. Picking up a shovel and moving snow, particularly after doing nothing physical for several months, can put a big strain on your heart especially if you are older or have a risk of coronary disease.

"In the cold, you have an increase in metabolic demand," said Norton Healthcare Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Sean Stewart.  "You get vasoconstriction of your coronary arteries that leads to an increase in blood pressure, which puts further stress on the heart and can lead to adverse events. If you look at the data, there are 11,000 medical encounters a year because of snow shoveling. Many of those are often related to cardiovascular events, including acute heart attacks."

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Dr. Stewart said sometimes symptoms can be sudden like chest pressure, discomfort in the arm or jaw, shortness of breath. Sometimes those symptoms don't occur immediately.

Norton Healthcare says just this past weekend, they did have one person who was rushed to the hospital for shoveling snow and he had an acute heart attack. There are variety of other injuries you can get by shoveling snow.

If you are not able to shovel your snow, try to find someone who can do it for you.

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