Srinagar, Jan 07: As people are clearing their sidewalks and driveways in view of the heavy snowfall in the valley, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) today cautioned about health risks posed by snow shoveling.
President DAK Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement said shoveling snow could pose significant and serious health risks, particularly to heart.
Lifting heavy snow is incredibly taxing on heart and can trigger a fatal heart attack.
Shoveling can cause sudden increase in blood pressure and heart rate, and cold air can cause constriction of blood vessels and decrease blood supply to the heart.
All these can work in concert and increase the burden on the heart and lead to a heart attack.
People at greatest risk are those who are habitually sedentary with known or suspected heart disease, who go out once a year to clear the snow.
I advise heart patients not to shovel snow at all.
Even people without cardiovascular issues have to be careful when they do it, as any adult over the age of 40 has potentially some risk factor for heart disease.
Use a small shovel, dress in layers and take frequent breaks while shoveling.
Avoid eating a heavy meal 30 to 60 minutes before and after shoveling as that places an extra load on the heart.
Snow removal can be hard on brain as well and can cause a stroke.
Shoveling can also sprain the back and spine.
Lifting small amounts of snow and keeping the weight of the snow as close to the body will help.
The slip or skid in icy conditions has the potential to cause head injuries and fractures.
Another big worry is frostbite on exposed skin due to the freezing cold and it can leave permanent damage.
Use of gloves, socks and covering your head, neck and face will help to prevent this.