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Health Experts Say Hunters At Risk For Heart Attack

ROYAL OAK (WWJ) - Firearms deer hunting season is here, and health experts say you'd better be in good shape if you're heading into the woods.

Like the athlete who's putting stress on his or her body during a demanding event, WWJ's Pat Sweeting reports hunters need to be aware they may be at just as great a risk of dying as the wild game they're after.

Susan Haapaniemi, a cardiac rehab physiologist at Beaumont Hospital, talked about what a Beaumont study of hunters revealed.

"We had one subject who was in a tree, in a tree blind, and upon seeing a deer his heart went from 78 beats-a-minute to 160-beats-a-minute instantly," Haapaniemi said.

Haapaniemi said dragging a deer out of the woods after shooting it also puts a huge load on the heart.  All this puts strain on the heart and for men who sit around sedentary most of the year, then go hunting and exert themselves, this can be very dangerous.

For a hunter with underlying heart disease, Haapaniemi said that surge could trigger a heart attack.  She said sportsmen should first consider whether they're in good enough health before they hit the road.

Haapaniemi recommends that a deer hunter should begin a fitness regiment several weeks prior to a hunting trip.

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