With this winter’s prolific snowfalls, slippery streets and biting cold aren’t the only dangers to be concerned about. According to cardiologist Andrew Kates, people should also think twice about shoveling snow if they aren’t accustomed to exercise. That’s because shoveling snow can cause heart attacks.
“Being out in the cold, and some of the changes that can happen with exertion, such as shoveling snow, can make things worse. Your heart rate can increase, your blood pressure can increase, and it can cause some stress on the arterial wall and it can cause plaques to break loose and can result in a heart attack,” Kates said.
Kates is a cardiologist with the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Heart and Vascular Center and is Washington University Cardiology Fellowship Program Director. He returned to St. Louis on the Air to give an update on the prevention and treatment of heart disease, the number one cause of death for both men and women in America.
Since then, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology released new heart disease prevention guidelines, including an increased recommendation for the prescription of statins.
In addition to his word of caution about snow shoveling, Kates spoke about the impact of the new guidelines, as well as the implications of a new study linking eating too much sugar with dying from heart disease. According to the study, people whose diet consists of 10 to 25 percent sugar (7 out of 10 adults) were 30 percent more likely to die of cardiovascular disease. And the risk of death almost triples for people who get more than 25 percent of their calories from sugar, a statistic that applies to one out of 10 adults.
“So, where before we were concerned about if you had too much sugar your teeth would rot out or you’d get fat, well now it seems it’s more than just that,” Kates said. “And what’s important is it’s not just increasing the risk of developing diabetes or increasing the risk of obesity, it was really an independent risk factor.”