It’s four days until spring, yet some 30 counties across northern and northeastern Iowa are under a Winter Storm Warning, with up to seven inches of new snow expected. Many parts of Iowa have had little snow this winter. Cardiologist Dr. Carmello Panetta says moving big piles of snow can be deceptively strenuous work and a recent study found sudden deaths are more prevalent during snow shoveling.
Panetta says, “That doesn’t mean everyone who shovels snow is going to fall down dead and it doesn’t mean everyone who has sudden death is out there shoveling, but it makes you more prone.” Panetta says people who are not physically fit put themselves at a higher risk when they tackle major snow shoveling. He adds, the important thing is to pace yourself.
Panetta says shoveling increases blood pressure and adrenaline, which can sometimes lead to a feeling similar to heartburn. He says “So if they’re out there and they’re shoveling snow and they suddenly feel like they’re having that same old heartburn they’ve had in the past, it may not be heartburn and I would stop shoveling.” Panetta says shoveling large amounts of snow is the equivalent of a hard aerobic workout on a treadmill. He says if you are not used to regular exercise, you should think twice before you dig in.