FAQ038: Why is my risk of heart attack higher shovelling snow?

Every year, you hear stories of people having heart attacks shovelling snow

Don’t be mistaken, shovelling snow (and even pushing a snow blower) is hard work! Snow can be heavy, icy, sometimes we get a LOT of it. These things create a lot of work for us when it comes to cleaning up and getting out to do the things we need to do the rest of our day. Because of the demand of shovelling snow, every year we hear stories of people passing away too young from heart attacks. These issues usually happen during or immediately after the snow clean up.

But what creates the risk?

One of the biggest risk factors for heart attacks is a family history of premature heart attack. This means a relative (usually pretty close to you) that has passed away under the age of 60 from a heart attack. It means that you can be vulnerable and shovelling can throw you over the edge. It often means that there was something silent going on. One thing that you were unaware of. This just means you might need to be a little more cautious when shovelling the snow.

The demand on the heart and your body’s ability to handle it.

I believe this to be true for anything – your body needs to be strong enough to handle what you’re asking it to do.

strength-body-demand If your body isn’t strong enough, it starts to break down. If you aren’t exercising regularly and then go into a bout of strenuous exercise, it can hurt you. Shovelling snow is exercise for the heart.

When you’re shovelling, your heart rate goes up and so does your blood pressure. This is a normal response to exercise. For a person who isn’t used to it or has some heart risks, this can be too much to handle. It can cause a blockage of the artery around the heart and subsequently lead to an incident.

We wrote an article that goes more in depth on these concepts. You can find it here.

Think you might be at risk? Stay safe in the snow by checking out this FAQ with some tips.


Posted in ,

Christina Prevett

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply