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Why Shoveling Snow Can Be Deadly

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - If you've spent any time at all in the Corridor, chances are, you're pretty familiar with a snow shovel, especially this winter. But, doctors warn, all that shoveling can be deadly. The problem isn't so much with shoveling, it's with shoveling when it's so cold outside.

Mercy Medical Center ER Medical Director, Matthew Aucutt, M.D. said it's fairly common to see heart attacks when people aren't use to the physical exertion that shoveling demands.

Aucutt said when you're out in the cold, the body reacts, constricting your blood vessels, making your heart work harder, so it needs more oxygen. For folks who already have a heart condition, it can be too much

Renee Walshire knows that firsthand. Her father died after he was outside snow blowing.

He went in the house and basically just went in his chair, and he had a massive heart attack and died instantly, Walshire said.

Aucutt said be aware of your health status. If you have any risk factors for heart disease like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, you might want to check with a doctor before grabbing your shovel. Walshires father had had a stroke about ten years before his death.

If theres a small blockage there, it might not be able to deliver the amount of blood and oxygen you need and people could then have a heart attack, Aucutt said. 



 
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