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St. Louis Officials See Uptick in Cardiac Ambulance Calls

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(Credit: Thinkstock)

(Credit: Thinkstock)

CBS St. Louis (con't)

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - The cardiovascular risk in these arctic-like temperatures extends well beyond the avoid shoveling rule, and the risks are especially high for those with known heart disease.

St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson said his department has responded to about ten weather-related ambulance calls since the snow started falling.

“Seven to eight of them were actually cardiac related from trying to dig out a car, shoveling, doing some kind of strenuous work outside in the cold and in the snow,” he said Monday night at a news briefing.

According to Dr. Doug Mann, a Cardiology Chief at Washington University, the cold weather constricts your blood vessels and that makes the work of the heart about ten times harder because it elevates blood pressure and increases the heart rate.

His best advice if you must go out, in addition to dressing in layers, is to avoid heavy meals which divert blood flow from the heart to the stomach and limit alcohol consumption which causes body temperature to drop even faster.

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