Shoveling snow can trigger heart attack

Snowstress 1Whether you’re using a snow blower, plow or shovel, digging out from a big snowfall is stressful.  But lifting heavy snow using a shovel can cause extra stress on the heart, according to HCMC’s Chief of Cardiology Dr. Bradley Bart.

“Arm work puts much more stress on the heart than leg work, so shoveling is often a ‘stress test’ for patients with coronary artery disease — whether they know about it or not.”

Dr. Bart describes the symptoms of a heart attack, which should never be ignored.

“Pressure, squeezing or tightness in the chest that lasts minutes at a time and goes away with resting are classic symptoms of a pending heart attack,” explains Dr. Bart. “However, symptoms can also involve aching in the shoulder, upper arm or jaw; nausea, unusual shortness of breath, and sweating.”

If you experience any of these symptoms, stop what you’re doing and call 911 right away.

Hennepin Heart Center at Hennepin County Medical Center has a long tradition of delivering patient-centered, high-quality cardiovascular care.  Using the latest interventions, cardiac specialists provide expertise in arrhythmia management, cardiac catheterization, rehabilitation, surgery, monitoring and imaging, and cardiac therapies.