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Shoveling snow might increase risk for heart attack

Experts say there could be health risks when shoveling snow, especially with heavy and wet snow like the type that hit Missouri this week.

"The things we'll run into and see is actually, once you get worked up then people start having chest pain, chest pain leads to numbness in the arm, tightness, shortness of breath and then you know it ends up leading to some sort of cardiac emergency," Division Chief Jason Turner with the Jefferson City Fire Department said.

Dr. Timothy Koboldt, an ER doctor with MU Health Care, says for people that may have pre-existing heart diseases or that are not used to being very physically active, shoveling their driveway will lead to more exertion and stress that could land them in the hospital.

"The first that people think about the most this time of year is heart attacks or heart-related illness," Koboldt said.

Some of the warning signs experts say people should look out for include the feeling of pressure on your chest or arm, feeling nauseated and shortness of breath. Officials say if you feel any of those symptoms getting severe, you should call 911.

To find out what impact just a few minutes of shoveling can have on the body, ABC 17 News worked with the Jefferson City Fire Department to safely put it to the test.

The Jefferson City Fire Department checked ABC 17's Zach Boetto's blood pressure before he started shoveling snow. His blood pressure was at 128/84 and his pulse was at 75 beats per minute (bpm). His SpO2, which is the amount of oxygen in his blood, was at 97%.

After shoveling snow for five minutes, his blood pressure was at 144/98, his pulse was at 147 bpm and his SpO2 was at 98%.

Officials said this type of increase is normal for Boetto's attributes.

Boone / Cole / Columbia / Family / Health / Health / Heart Disease / Helping Your Community / Jefferson City / LIfe / Medical Alert / Missouri / Public Health Alert / Public Safety Alert / Snow / Top Stories / Top Stories / Weather / Weather Alert Day / Winter Weather
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Zach Boetto

Zach Boetto anchors the weekend morning and weekday 9 a.m. & noon newscasts for ABC 17. He also reports in the field on Mondays and Tuesdays during the 5 and 6 a.m. newscasts.
Zach began working at ABC 17 in June 2019 after graduating from California State University Channel Islands with a bachelor’s degree in communication.


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