Winter cold and other seasonal factors can raise the risk of heart attacks. Cold, winter conditions can make your arteries constrict thus decreasing blood flow and the delivery of oxygen to your heart. In addition to the cold, winter weather there is also the snow. And while creating snow sculptures in your front yard may be fun, snow shoveling isn’t necessarily fun. In fact, there is actually a risk involved with snow shoveling. It is quite a difficult physical activity. Shoveling is a risk particularly for people who have heart disease as it increases your body’s oxygen demand at the same time your arteries are tightening up in the cold. People who aren’t in great shape need to be extra careful about shoveling. Use a snow blower or hire someone. If you do go outside to shovel snow, do it for just 15 minutes at a time and then let the body recuperate indoors. Don’t overdo it, especially if you are not used to exercise.
A classic heart attack is marked by pain in the chest and can radiate down the left arm, but sometimes it can feel more like a pulled muscle in your back or neck. The pain usually lasts more than a few minutes and can come and go in intensity. When in doubt, go to the emergency room or call 9-1-1 and get it checked out.