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HHS HealthBeat (March 13, 2012)

Cold and snowy

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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Shoveling snow can be hard work – especially for a weak heart. But studies indicate something more than just doing hard work might be the reason.

Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine used sonograms to look at hearts and blood vessels of 26 healthy young and older people as they took a handgrip test while breathing cold air.  Researcher Matthew Muller says the combination affected their ability to circulate oxygen-rich blood:

“Blood flow demand was higher, but blood flow supply was not as high as it should have been.” (5 seconds)

Muller suspects the findings in healthy people might explain problems people with cardiovascular disease face when they shovel snow.

The studies in two physiology journals were supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: March 13, 2012