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Tips For Dealing With 'Heart-Attack Snow'

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The snow expected to come down Wednesday night and linger into Thursday will likely be heavy and wet.

Some referred to it as heart-attack snow.

A cubic foot of heavy snow can weigh 20 pounds or more, so shoveling it over and over and over and kind of like doing a bench press.

"Any unexpected chest pressure, pain, discomfort, sweating, nausea, or any trouble breathing should be a danger signal," said Dr. Steven Goldsmith, a cardiologist at the Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC).

He says it's that sudden intense effort that can cause a heart attack for those with heart conditions.

"I think the best strategy would be to get someone else to [shovel the snow]," Goldsmith said.

And even for those without heart problems, shoveling heavy snow has risks.

"If they have hypertension, if they smoke, if they are diabetic, and if they are not sued to significant physical activity, they should take it easy," Goldsmith said.

Your best bet is to take breaks in between shoveling, or take a chance and wait for the snow to melt.

HCMC says that another injury seen when heavy snow falls is people hurting themselves on the snowblower.

The snow gets stuck in the blower, people stick their hands in the machine and end up in the emergency room.

If you have to shovel the heavy snow, do it with your legs or your whole body -- not just your arms. The theory is that just using your upper body causes more stress on your heart.

It's probably also a better method to prevent the sore muscles.

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