Doctors: Don't take 'heart attack' snow nickname lightly

Cardiologists at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) said shoveling this kind of heavy, wet snow takes more arm work than leg work. As a result, that heavy lifting can be very taxing on your heart. (WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - Officially, Rochester measured 12.7 inches of snow at the Greater Rochester International Airport on Friday.

The heavy, wet snow that comprised that snowfall is often referred to as 'heart attack' snow.

Cardiologists at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) said shoveling this kind of heavy, wet snow takes more arm work than leg work. As a result, that heavy lifting can be very taxing on your heart.

The extreme exertion can be enough to cause a heart attack for people who do not regularly exercise.

"I think it's all about lifting and today is a tough day because it's extremely heavy snow," said Dr. Christopher Cove, a cardiologist with UR Medicine. "Clearly, you wanna take smaller portions, smaller amounts, You wanna use your legs instead of lifting with your back, you wanna push it whenever you can and then you wanna assess how you feel."

If you notice shortness of breath, chest pressure or pain, stop right away and take a break.

Give yourself 15 minutes for the symptoms to subside. If they do not, you should call 911.

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