BANGOR, Maine — The Penobscot County Sheriff's Office said in a release Thursday that it has responded to two fatal medical incidents involving the use of snowblowers.
The sheriff's office said the incidents were unrelated, but both involved the use of snowblowers while moving heavy snow.
The sheriff's office said the incidents happened 30 minutes apart on Jan. 23. One happened in Lagrange and the other in Orrington, and both involved older males with preexisting medical conditions.
Pushing a snowblower can be strenuous, just like shoveling, according to health experts. Combined with the cold, it can be a recipe for stressing your entire body, particularly your heart.
Though it’s generally less intense to use a snowblower than a shovel, some studies have shown there is still an increased risk of heart attacks among people who use automatic snowblowers. Pushing the heavy snow blower can also raise your heart rate and blood pressure quickly, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
Snow shoveling is among the strenuous physical activities that can place extra stress on a person’s heart, increasing the risk of a heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest, according to the AHA.
“Numerous scientific research studies over the years have identified the dangers of shoveling snow for people with and without previously known heart disease,” the AHA said.
Both the exertion of shoveling snow and the conditions under which you’re shoveling it can be hard on your heart, the Cleveland Clinic and other experts say.
“The sudden increase in blood pressure and heart rate puts a lot of strain on your heart,” cardiologist Marc Samsky, M.D., told VERIFY. “That’s compounded by the cold air, which can also cause your blood vessels to constrict and increase your blood pressure and increase the strain on your heart.”