(WKBW) The winter weather can be hard on the heart, especially for those with heart disease or at risk for heart disease.
That's people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a strong family history. Also, smokers and those who are overweight.
The American Heart Association says these people have to be extra careful during the cold and snow season.
Here are some AHA tips to help prevent sudden cardiac arrest this time of year:
Avoid sudden cold weather exertion. Snow shoveling can be good exercise, but not if you are in poor physical condition, don't exercise, or have risk factors. Even walking through heavy, wet snow or snowdrifts can strain a person's heart.
Recognize the symptoms of hypothermia. Children, the elderly and those with heart disease are at greater risk for hypothermia. The symptoms include lack of coordination, mental confusion, slowed reactions, shivering and sleepiness.
Stay warm. People with heart disease often suffer chest pain or discomfort when they're in cold weather. Wind and dampness cause the body to lose heat, so wear layers of clothing and keep your head, hands and feet warm.
Avoid alcohol before heading outdoors. It can increase the likelihood of hypothermia.
And learn CPR or Hands-Only CPR, where you push hard and fast in the center of the chest. For more information on learning CPR, just click on News Links.