Sections

Alphabetical list:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V W X Y Q Z 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

News: December 18, 2009

Should You Be Shoveling Snow?

December 18, 2009

Yes, the weather outside is frightful, and soon you will have to think about shoveling snow. But should you be the one doing the work? Who should and should not shovel snow, and how can you do it safely?


Every winter, approximately 1,200 Americans die from a heart attack or another type of cardiac incident during or after a snowstorm, and shoveling snow is often the triggering event. Sometimes rushing outside to remove the snow so you can get out can result in a trip you had not planned on taking - to the emergency department.

According to the Harvard Heart Letter, several things happen when people shovel snow, and they tend to place a great deal of stress on the body, especially the heart. One is that shoveling involves the arms and shoulders, and upper body exercise places strain on the heart because those muscles typically are not well conditioned. Because shoveling in an upright position causes blood to pool in the legs and feet, the heart must work harder to maintain blood pressure.

Shoveling snow is hard work, but much of it involves isometric exercise until you actually toss a shovelful of snow into a pile or up onto the bank. During isometric exercise, heart rate increases and blood vessels constrict in an attempt to send more blood to your working muscles. This causes blood pressure to rise.

Do you hold your breath while shoveling? Many people do and do not realize it. In fact, shovelers often bear down while they hold their breath, a combination that can lead to rapid changes in blood pressure and heart beat.

The Harvard Heart Letter advises anyone who has a heart condition to avoid shoveling snow under any circumstances. People who are older than 50, who smoke, have high blood pressure, are overweight, or who are on chemotherapy also should not shovel. If you believe you are a candidate for snow shoveling, do not attempt to dig out first thing in the morning. That's when your stress hormone levels are typically higher and platelets in the blood are more likely to clump together, which is a recipe for a heart attack.
Before venturing outside, spend five minutes doing light stretching exercises, dress in layers, wear a hat and gloves, avoid caffeine and nicotine for at least one hour before shoveling snow, and do not drink alcohol for several hours prior to shoveling.


Once outside, shovel in a leisurely fashion, take frequent rest breaks, and drink fluids (water, no caffeine or alcohol) to avoid dehydration. Do not attempt to remove deep snow with one huge shovel full of snow: skim a few inches off the top and work your way down. Avoid throwing snow to either side or over your shoulder. Instead, use a shovel with a small scoop and walk to where you want to put the snow.

If your clothing or feet get wet, go inside and change. If at any time you experience chest pain, palpitations, unusual shortness of breath, fatigue, lightheadedness, or nausea, stop shoveling and go inside. When you have finished shoveling, do some light stretching to cool down. Avoid drinking caffeine or smoking tobacco for at least an hour after shoveling, as they can elevate your blood pressure and heart rate, increasing your risk for a heart attack. Smoking also raises carbon monoxide levels, which hinders the delivery of oxygen to the heart muscle.

Should you be shoveling snow? It's a question that everyone should ask themselves when the white stuff begins to accumulate on their driveway and sidewalks. The better questions might be, Will you risk your health if you do shovel snow? Would you be better off letting someone else do the shoveling for you?

SOURCES:

American Heart Association

Harvard Heart Letter




Archive issues: (50)

Archive list: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 [9] 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

November 20, 2009 | Yes, Cats Can Catch the Swine Flu

Our cut little and cuddly cats that purr at us and give us so much love seems be susceptible to catch the swine flu. In fact, a cat in Iowa has tested positive for the H1N1 virus, state officials confirmed this morning, "marking the first time a cat has been diagnosed with this strain of influenza," the association said in a statement.  "The cat, which has recovered, is believed to have caught the virus ...

November 19, 2009 | Embryonic Stem Cells May Be Used To Create New Skin

Boston (SmartAboutHealth) - A new study out of France has revealed that embryonic stem cells may be used to actually create new skin for humans.  The belief is that by using these embryonic stem cells to create new skin, that it could prove extremely helpful in the treatment of burn victims.  Burn victims usually ...

November 18, 2009 | Back Pain Linked To Everyday Activites

While that occasional back pain may go away after some rest and pain medication, many back pain sufferers are not aware that everyday activities - from wearing high heels to long work hours - can repeatedly strain the spine may lead to more serious consequences later. According to White Plains based neurosurgeon Dr. Jack Stern, M.D., Ph.D., some activities that repeatedly strain the spine may eventually lead ...

Archive list: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 [9] 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Related articles:

Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome - diagnosis

  There are no definitive diagnostic tests for CP/CPPS. This is a poorly understood disorder, even though it accounts for 90%-95% of prostatitis diagnoses. It is found in men of any age, with the peak onset in the early 30s. CP/CPPS may be inflammatory (Category IIIa) or non-inflammatory (Category IIIb), based on levels of pus cells in expressed prostatic secretions (EPS), but these subcategories are of ...

Section: Prostatitis

Treatment - pelvic floor treatments

  Work by Wise and Anderson (see details) has shown that urologic pelvic pain syndromes, such as IC/PBS and CP/CPPS, may have no initial trigger other than anxiety, often with an element of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or other anxiety-spectrum problem. This is theorized to leave the pelvic area in a sensitized condition resulting in a loop of muscle tension and heightened neurological feedback (neural wind-up). This is a form of myofascial pain syndrome. Current protocols largely focus on stretches to release ...

Section: Interstitial cystitis

Treatment

  Treatment depends on the cause. Testosterone supplements may be used for cases due to hormonal deficiency. However, the cause is more usually lack of adequate penile blood supply as a result of damage to inner walls of blood vessels. This damage is more frequent in older men, and often associated with disease, in particular diabetes.  Treatments (with the exception ...

Section: Erectile Dysfunction

News

December 20, 2009

Wii, Xbox 360 and Other Video Games Offer Some Benefits

Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation, and other video games are hot on holiday gift lists, but some parents wonder whether these games offer any benefits or are detrimental to kids. The results of a new study may ...

December 18, 2009

Should You Be Shoveling Snow?

Yes, the weather outside is frightful, and soon you will have to think about shoveling snow. But should you be the one doing the work? Who should and should not shovel snow, and how can you do it safely?  Every winter, approximately 1,200 Americans die from a heart attack or another ...

December 17, 2009

Athletes who take NSAID's to prevent pain may be doing more harm than good

According to Stuart Warden, a researcher who studies musculoskeletal health and sports medicine, athletes who ritualistically take NSAID's to prevent post event and workout soreness and inflammation may be depriving the body of ...

Blogroll