The Winter Storm Warning proved to be accurate, dumping nearly eight inches of snow on the area. So once the snow stopped everyone started digging themselves out to get back to normal.
Clyde was a 48 year old man that had been sedentary most of his life. He decided to start shoveling the snow off his sidewalks and driveway. The temperature was 25 degrees. After about thirty minutes of work he developed chest pain and shortness of breath. He started walking back to his house when he collapsed in cardiac arrest.
We see it every winter. Someone shoveling snow dies without warning. Why is shoveling snow so dangerous? First, let’s consider the individual who has been sedentary for quite sometime. Then we get a significant snow storm. So the individual decides to shovel snow. His pulse rate increases substantially. This places a significant strain on the heart. In addition the increase heart rate can cause small pieces of plaque to break off in the coronary arteries. This plaque can travel to a constricted artery or a partially blocked area and cut off all blood flow to that area of the heart. This creates a myocardial infarction or a heart attack.
Breathing the cold air while shoveling snow can constrict coronary arteries reducing or completely blocking the artery. This can occur by itself or in conjunction with the plaque breaking off. It should also be noted that the blood thickens in cold weather adding another element that can reduce blood flow. This is how sudden cardiac arrest occurs during snow shoveling.
So, how can we prevent it?
- If you are not use to heavy exercise avoid the temptation to shovel snow.
- Cover your mouth and nose to prevent breathing the cold air.
- Take frequent breaks.
- Don’t work more than ten minutes before going inside to warm up.
- Don’t fill your shovel completely. Use smaller scoops.
- Make sure you layer your clothes so when you start getting warm you can reduce the number of layers so you don’t get too warm.
- Make sure you always talk to your doctor before participating in any heavy exertion.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,
1 Corinthians 6:19