A new Candian study suggests men are at a higher risk of a heart attack following a major snowstorm.
Researchers studied periods without any snow and compared it to heavy snowfall. Scientists discovered after about 8 inches of snow; men are 16% more likely to have a heart attack and 34% more likely to die from a heart attack.
What about women? Fortunately, researchers did not find a correlation between snowfall and heart attacks in women.
Researchers analyzed decades worth of data from patients hospitalized in Quebec, Canada. To determine the relationships, researchers examined over 120,000 hospital admissions and nearly 70,00 deaths from heart attacks in Quebec between 1981 and 2014. Researchers also found 62% of all hospital admissions were men and men accounted for 57% of deaths.
Dr. Nathalie Auger of the University of Montreal was the lead author of the study. Dr. Auger explained that both how much snowfall and the duration of the snow storm was linked to an increased risk of heart attack for men.
Researchers are not sure why men are more likely to have a heart attack. However, researchers believe it is due to snow shoveling.
“We suspect that shovelling was the main mechanism linking snowfall with MI. Men are potentially more likely than women to shovel, particularly after heavy snowfalls,” researchers explained in the study. “Snow shovelling is a demanding cardiovascular exercise requiring more than 75% of the maximum heart rate, particularly with heavy loads.”
“Snow shovelling is a demanding cardiovascular exercise requiring more than 75% of the maximum heart rate, particularly with heavy loads.”
But, the heart attacks could also be attributed to exposure to cold weather. Scientist pointed out that exposure to cold temperatures causes arrhythmia and breathing cold air has the possibility of reducing blood flow to the heart, which can also cause a heart attack.