Science

Shoveling Snow after Major Snowfall Linked To Heart Attack Risks in Men

By Charles Omedo , Feb 14, 2017 02:58 AM EST
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A team of Canadian researchers has underscored the potential risks of heart attack for men who shovel snow piles after any major snowfall. The researchers analyzed decades of medical data involving hospitalizations and heart attack deaths in men to reach a conclusion that snowstorms portend death for men who shovel snow. The new study is published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Dr. Nathalie Auger, lead author of the study and of the University of Montreal, stated that the heavier and longer the snow falls, the more men tend to elevate their risks for heart attack. She therefore advised men to be particularly careful when laboring hard to shovel snow after heavy snowstorms - more so if such men have a history of heart problems.

The study does not link results of study with women

The study does not link increase in heart attack risks with women who shovel snow after major snowfalls, Reuters reports. The researchers think this may be because men traditionally task themselves with shoveling snow and even tend to overdo it when they are not physically conditioned to undertake such tasks.

For the study, the researchers analyzed hospitalizations and heart attack deaths in Quebec between 1981-2014 - mostly for periods between November and April when snowstorms tend to be harder. They examined 128,073 hospitalizations and 68,155 deaths arising from heart attacks. Ultimately, the data indicated that 62% of the hospitalizations were for men and men also accounted for 57% of the deaths.

Interesting enough, the study further found that men are 8% more prone to be hospitalized for heart attack and 12% more likely to die when massive snowstorms persist unabated for 24 hours than when it doesn't snow at all, US News & World Report wrote. But this is never the case for women.

Women advised to take a cue from results of this study

However, Dr. David Alter of the University of Toronto advised that women should also apply the results of the study to themselves as a layer of extra caution. He said women shouldn't exempt themselves from risks of heart attack after working the snow if they happen to be sedentary and above the age of 50. He advised both men and women to engage more in physical exercises to strengthen their heart muscles.

"The risks do not only extend to men," Alter said. "If you are sedentary, not participating in regular exercise, and over the age of 50 with risk factors for heart disease or with established heart disease, I would not recommend snow shoveling."

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