Can shoveling snow put your heart at risk?

Thermometer on snow shows low temperatures under zero. Low temperatures in degrees Celsius and fahrenheit. Cold winter weather twenty under zero.Thermometer on snow shows low temperatures under zero. Low temperatures in degrees Celsius and fahrenheit. Cold winter weather twenty under zero.

When it comes to heart disease, there’s lots of advice. There are heart-healthy diets and exercise programs to follow. Of course, if you smoke, you’re urged to stop. For those at highest risk or who already have heart disease, there are medications to take and monitoring of your condition to keep track of.

recent study suggests that for people who are at high risk for heart disease or who already have it, there’s a bit of new advice: don’t shovel snow.

Shoveling snow and heart attack

According to past estimates, about 100 people — mostly men — die during or just after shoveling snow each year in the US. Many more are admitted to the hospital with chest pain or other heart problems. This latest research further explored the details of this connection. Researchers correlated admissions to the hospital and deaths due to heart attack the day after it snowed in Canada during the years 1981 to 2014. This included more than 128,000 hospital admissions and more than 68,000 deaths due to heart attack. Here’s what they found:

  • The deeper the snow, the more men were admitted for heart attacks. For example, for snowfalls of more than eight inches, there was a 16% increase in hospital admissions compared to days with no snow.
  • The deeper the snow, the more men died of heart attacks.  A 34% increase was observed the day after an eight-inch snowfall, and higher rates were noted when even more snow fell.
  • Similar observations were made for duration of snowfall. The longer it snowed, the higher the rates of heart attack and related deaths among men.
  • A link between snowfall and heart attack was not observed among women.

The findings of this study were not limited to people who already knew they had heart disease or who had risk factors for it. The link between snowfall and heart attack was observed even among people with no cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking or high blood pressure.

It’s worth noting that this study did not ask these patients whether they actually shoveled snow. So, it’s possible that the connection between snowfall and heart trouble has nothing to do with shoveling snow. Perhaps there is some other snow-related risk factor, such as the use of a snow blower that is the real culprit, but I’m having a hard time coming up with other plausible explanations. Can you?

Why should this be?

The link between snowfall and heart attack is appealing for several reasons.

  • Shoveling snow (or perhaps other means of snow removal, including pushing a heavy snow blower) can raise your heart rate and blood pressure more quickly and more dramatically than many other types of exercise.
  • Snow shoveling requires use of arm muscles, which for most people is more strenuous than other exercise.
  • Snow removal happens in a cold environment. That’s important because cold temperatures may cause blood vessels to constrict.
  • Many snow shovelers are ordinarily sedentary. The sudden, strenuous workout may tax a system that is not prepared for it.

And, as mentioned, there is no obvious or highly likely alternative explanation. Previous research has also raised the possibility that snow shoveling increases the risk of cardiac events.

Still, this study cannot prove a causal link between snow shoveling and heart attack. In addition, it cannot rule out a link for women as well. The authors suggest the lack of a connection for women observed in this study may have been due to fewer women shoveling snow.

So what?

Considering that cardiovascular disease affects more than 27 million people in the US and takes more than 600,000 lives each year, eliminating snow shoveling-related heart attacks and deaths would have only a small impact. Even so, if shoveling snow can trigger heart trouble, this study suggests that not shoveling may represent a preventive strategy worth consideration, especially for those at highest risk.

So, if you have snow where you live and you’re on the fence about whether to hire the neighborhood kid to shovel

Bible verses for today’s meditation and inspiration: Matthew E. McLaren

Bible verses for today’s meditation and inspiration: Matthew E. McLaren

Psalm 96:9 Worship the LORD in holy attire; Tremble before Him, all the earth.

2 Kings 17:36 “But the LORD, who brought you up from the land of Egypt with great power and with an outstretched arm, Him you shall fear, and to Him you shall bow yourselves down, and to Him you shall sacrifice.

Psalm 95:6-7 Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand Today, if you would hear His voice,

Psalm 99:4-5 The strength of the King loves justice; You have established equity; You have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob. Exalt the LORD our God And worship at His footstool; Holy is He.

Hebrews 12:28-29 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.

Psalm 5:7 But as for me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house, At Your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You.

Psalm 95:6 Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.

Psalm 138:2 I will bow down toward Your holy temple And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name.

Amos 5:21-24 “I hate, I reject your festivals, Nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. “Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings. “Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps.    

Recommended contacts for prayer request and Bible study

www.agapetemplesda.com

https://www.hopetv.org

www.adventistontario.org

https://breathoflife.tv/

http://www.nadadventist.org/article/15/contact-us

http://3abn.org/all-streams/3abn.html

https://www.adventist.org/en/utility/contact/

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