Monday, February 8, 2010

Be Heart Smart While Shoveling

Emergency rooms throughout the region are starting to see patients that are experiencing heart problems while shoveling. Mercy Hospital Chief of Cardiology Dr. John Ward says shoveling snow is the equivalent of spending ten minutes on a stress test treadmill. Ward says people do not take notice of the symptoms they would normally pay attention to if they were exercising. He says if you get excessively short of breath, have chest, back or neck pain you need to take a break. “Any pain above the bellybutton,” says Ward. You should also let someone know you are headed out to shovel. Ward says if you collapse from a heart attack, the first few minutes are very important and you do not want to spend them laying on your driveway. Ward recommends that you dig out your car or shovel your driveway in stages, taking breaks between each stage. He says one big problem he sees is shovlers starting to feel chest pains but thinking they only have a few more feet to go so they try to finish the job. That, he says, is when they get in trouble. He says, “The snow will still be there when you get back, Even if it takes all day to shovel your drive.”

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