With fresh bout of snowfall in Kashmir valley, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Thursday urged people to be careful while clearing snow from their driveways, porches or sidewalks.
“Shoveling snow can increase your risk of having a heart attack,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement,
Dr Hassan said lifting heavy snow 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 said.
The DAK President 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
“Those with heart issues should not 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 warm-up before starting to shovel snow, use of small shovel and pushing the snow instead of lifting it can help to reduce the strain on the heart.
It is vital to take frequent breaks while shoveling and to stay well hydrated at the same time.
Shoveling snow shortly after it falls when it is lighter and fluffier and avoiding a heavy meal 30 to 60 minutes before and after shoveling will lessen the load on the heart.
“Dressing in layers, use of gloves, socks and covering your head, neck and face while shoveling will help decrease the risk of heart attack,” he added.