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Staying heart safe in cold and snow

When it's cold and you're outside, your body has to work harder to stay warm. Here's how to avoid overworking your heart.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Here's a cardiologist's advice for what you can do to make sure you're not ignoring any dangerous symptoms while clearing snow around the house.

"You always think this is going to happen to other people and I think we think elderly are the only ones at risk... basically we're seeing heart attacks in people that are very young these days," Dr. Rajendra Kattar said.

Even in your upper 30s, you can be more susceptible to a heart attack by spending time outside doing any strenuous activity.

"Weather puts much more strain on the body and the heart works harder to help warm up the body," Kattar said.

Plus, the cold can act like a numbing agent, making symptoms harder to detect.

"You can start becoming short of breath, it's harder to feel but you can still break out into a sweat, any type of chest discomfort, it doesn't have to be a sharp pain,"  said.

So, cover your mouth and wear a hat. You lose a lot of heat through your head. Don't do too much all at once.

"Any symptoms at all, stop what you're doing, come in, warm up, and if you're still having the symptoms call 911," Kattar said.

Be extra careful if you have any history of heart problems, high cholesterol or elevated blood pressure. And, make sure to check in on the elderly because they may be too proud to ask for help.

"Your health's more important. If you're not around tomorrow, it doesn't help that your sidewalk was shoveled," Kattar said.

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