Monday, January 4, 2010

Greater Risk of Heart Attack in Winter Months

According to the American Heart Association, symptoms of a heart attack can either be intense and occur all of a sudden or begin slowly, causing only slight discomfort. Many people are unaware that as cold air is inhaled, the body attempts to stop the loss of heat by narrowing blood vessels (Dr. Holly Anderson, New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center).

When blood vessels constrict, blood pressure goes up, causing a possible reduction in the amount of oxygen reaching the heart. This response to frigid air increases the risk of heart attack for anyone performing a strenuous activity, such as shoveling snow, and those with heart problems.

Common heart attack symptoms from the American Heart Association:

  • Pain, discomfort or a squeezing sensation in the chest
  • Pain in the arms, back, neck or jaw
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea or a cold sweat

According to Dr. Anderson, a person can lessen their risk of heart attack in the winter months by stretching or walking before shoveling snow, dressing properly for the weather, using less strenuous methods of shoveling and taking 15 minute rests after shoveling for 15 minutes. Covering the mouth and nose with a scarf while outdoors can help to warm the air before inhaling, causing less vessel constriction. Smokers, those who are overweight and those who have already experienced a heart attack should consult their doctor before shoveling snow or performing other strenuous activities.

Be sure to take any possible heart attack symptoms seriously and seek medical attention immediately. If you or a loved one has experienced a delay in diagnosis or treatment of a heart attack, contact the cardiac malpractice attorneys at Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C. today to schedule your free consultation. We serve clients with Queens heart attack, Brooklyn heart attack, Bronx heart attack and Long Island heart attack cases.

Call us toll-free, 1-877-ASK4SAM and visit us online at

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