Shoveling heavy snow poses heart risks

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Thursdays snow storm brought several inches of wet, heavy snow, but before you head out and shovel a large pile of snow, medical experts have a word of caution.

Heavy, wet snow is often called "heart attack snow," because the great effort required to move it can increase your risk of having a heart attack.

"The risk with a heavy snow like this are significant," said Bryan Myers, a Physician Assistant at Twin Rivers Urgent Care, "they estimate that scooping heavy snow like this is similar to maximally exerting on a treadmill."

Myers said there are a few things to keep in mind before shoveling heavy snow, "Lots of hydration, especially water, stay warm, work yourself up to this and use a small scoop, it's going to take you a lot longer, but use a small shovel and take small little bits at a time and try not to throw too far, just keep that exertion down."

David Godfrey recently moved to North Platte and was outside Thursday shoveling and then opted for an All Terrain Vehicle.

"It is a workout. The wet stuff gets heavy after a while so sometimes with the spring storms you don't know how deep it can get. I actually kind of like it, some people probably think I'm crazy, but I like the change of seasons," said Godfrey.

Others like Tami Daily are not quite as enthused. "I don't like it at all," said Daily, "I am ready for gardening."

Whether you like the weather or not, the snow has to be removed from sidewalks per North Platte City regulations.

"Sidewalks are suppose to be cleared off within 24 hours of a storm and there is, in the ordinances, a ticket policy," said Public Service Director, Layne Groseth.

If you must use a shovel to remove the snow, Myers said, "My message would be try to find a neighbor boy or a girl that you can pay a little bit. It would cost significantly more to risk having a heart attack so if you've had prior symptoms, if you recently had a stent or recently had any kind of heart surgery, even if you have a heart irregularities, you don't want to put that extra strain on your heart so be really wise and careful."