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Protect your heart during a snowstorm

Want to get VIP treatment at the hospital?

Go during a snowstorm!

I’m only half-kidding here, as new research finds that’s the time that hospital ERs are practically ghost towns – especially for heart patients.

On the day of a storm with at least 10 inches of snow, admissions for serious cardiac conditions such as abnormal heart rhythm and heart attacks plunge by a third compared to a typical day.

Then, they start to rise again.

Two days after the storm, those admissions are UP sharply… jumping by 22 percent compared to your usual non-snow day.

Don’t dismiss this as some amusing statistical quirk.

There’s a REAL lesson here, especially if you live in Snow Country – because there are two key reasons for that drop and then rise in admissions.

First, folks feel crummy and know something’s wrong but they take a look out the window realize they’re snowed in.

They’re not driving – not with the angina acting up. And they’re certainly not about to ask a spouse to do so in the middle of a storm.

They don’t want the drama or attention of an ambulance ride, either.

After all, it’s not “that bad” yet, right?

Don’t take your chances, my friend. “Not that bad” can turn “real bad” in a jiffy. So even if it’s snowing, call 911 and get help if you feel something wrong in your chest.

If it’s a true blizzard, you might end up waiting a little while – but it’s sure as heck better than waiting days, when you might wait yourself right into the ICU or even the morgue.

And second, some folks with heart conditions do just fine during the storm but then make the mistake of trying to dig themselves out afterward.

They think they’re still able to work the way they did decades ago. They refuse to ask for help and certainly don’t plan to PAY someone to come and shovel.

That’s a mistake, maybe even a deadly one — so don’t be a stubborn old mule here. If you have a heart condition and aren’t willing to pay someone to take care of the driveway and sidewalk, you could pay with your life.

If money’s tight, ask around – there are often volunteer groups that will help seniors with stuff like this.

Even if the snow isn’t that deep, don’t mess around.

Moderate snowfalls increase hospital admissions for up to six days afterward, for an entirely different reason: falls.

Any fall can break a bone or put you in a wheelchair, so be careful out there. And if snow is headed your way, do two things.

Stock up on rock salt, and have 911 on speed dial.

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