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Protecting your heart in the winter weather

As much of the country is digging itself out of the snow, ABC News is reminding readers today of the potential dangers of winter weather:

Doctors say slips and falls are the most common injuries caused by snow and ice seen in the ER, but they also warn of heart dangers that may come with a snowfall.

"The risk of heart attack is increased by the combination of heavy, upper body exertion and cold weather encountered while shoveling snow," said Dr. William Abraham, director of the division of cardiovascular medicine at Ohio State University. "People, especially those at risk for coronary heart disease, should avoid heavy exertion in cold weather conditions."

The article goes on to compare lifting heavy snow with lifting heavy weights - both raise blood pressure and heart rate - and it gives tips to people who are healthy enough to handle the white stuff. If you notice you're getting out of breath while shoveling, for example, slow your pace and rest.

Photo by Sarah_Ackerman

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