What is the Connection Between Shoveling Snow, Heart Attacks and Failure to Diagnose Cases?
In the Pacific Northwest we don’t usually get more than a few days with heavy snow on the ground which means that we are always out of practice for shoveling snow. When a person who has cardiovascular issues sets out to shovel snow they are in fact, risking a heart attack from the exertion. A study published in the journal Clinical Research in Cardiology identified 500 patients who checked into the hospital over two winters because of heart problems. Seven percent of those patients said that they were shoveling snow at the time the symptoms started. The people most vulnerable to a snow shoveling related heart attack were men, with an average age of 63, with a family history of premature cardiovascular disease.
Why is shoveling snow the cause of heart attacks?
There are several reasons that shoveling snow can lead to a heart attack:
- Shoveling snow is done in the cold. Outdoor activity in the cold can cause blood vessels to constrict and raise blood pressure. It can even cause coronary artery spasms.
- If you are shoveling in a hurry to get to work after waking up to an unexpected snow fall, the stress can increase blood pressure.
- Most of us don’t have to shovel snow very often – making the muscles needed to shovel snow underused and causing a high level of exertion to perform the task. This is especially true for people who are normally sedentary.
- A lot of people instinctively hold their breath on exertion like when they lift shovels full of snow. When we hold our breath the diaphragm is slammed right up into the heart which squeezes it and reduces blood flow.
How I protect myself from a heart attack while shoveling snow?
- If possible do not shovel snow yourself if you have cardiovascular issues. If that is not an option, wait for the temperature to warm up and use a self-propelled snow blower.
- Be conscious of your breathing as you lift the shovel out of the snow.
- Cover your mouth with a scarf so you breathe in warm air.
- Move is slow, deliberate motions and pace yourself.
- Listen to your body. If you start to feel dizzy, get shortness of breath, discomfort in your chest, numbness or pain in your arms, leg cramps or a racing heart stop shoveling right away and rest. If the symptoms are still present after 3-5 minutes seek medical attention. You may consider chewing on an aspirin while you await medical assistance.
Note that while women are also likely to experience pressure in the chest, the sensation may be less severe than it is for men. Women are also more likely to experience the additional list of symptoms than men.
Failure to diagnose heart attack
Unfortunately, failure to diagnose heart attack is the most common medical malpractice mistake. This means that there are people who present in the emergency room having a heart attack that do not get the medical care that they need, which can lead to death or serious injury.
Why are heart attacks misdiagnosed?
Heart attacks are misdiagnosed for a variety of reasons. Most often, the reason for the failure to diagnose is that the symptoms experienced by the patient can lead doctors to believe the patient is suffering from a different medical condition.
If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one due to a medical professional’s failure to diagnose or misdiagnose a heart attack you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering and more through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
If you or a loved one is dealing with an accident or injury through no fault of your own, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!