Winter time can bring on more heart attacks for people who are shoveling snow. But that doesn't have to be the case.
Health experts say the signs for heart attack can mask themselves differently in men compared to women. There's no limit on age when it comes to shoveling but certain precautions are necessary. Doctors say doing things like shoveling snow in cold weather causes the heart to work harder than usual. Before going out one doctor says know your vitals and dress properly.
They need to know their numbers, what's your blood pressure, what's your cholesterol, what's your fasting blood sugar. Patients should always bundle up. Proper attire to go out and very often covering your mouth so that you're breathing through a scarf could help, warmer air comes in as you are breathing in and out." said OSF St. Francis Medical Center Cardiologist Dr. Darrel Gumm.
Dr. Gumm says the signs of distress in women may be different than men. To avoid it he said you should take breaks, especially when the snow is wetter and heavier.
The American Heart Association reports that an estimated 44 million women in the U.S. are affected by heart disease.
One physical therapist says picking the right shovel and technique is also important.
"We want to keep our feet wide so we maintain good balance, bend with our knees, not with our back. We want to keep our feet spread out on the handle. Beyond that use an ergonomic snow shovel, it has a bent or curved handle so it can get closer to our body," said Athletico Physical Therapist Lane Dieckow. He also said plastic shovels and ones with curved handles are easier to use. The best advice is to maintain a physically active life style with a diet of fruits and vegetables, grilled turkey, chicken or fish and plenty of unsalted nuts.