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Man Dies after Shoveling Snow

Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office is investigating a snow-related death.

A 55-year-old man collapsed after shoveling snow Monday morning. 

Police found him outside after responding to the 2300 block of W. Keefe Avenue around 5:50 a.m.

He was brought to Froedtert Hospital and later pronounced dead.

Milwaukee Police say they haven't found anything suspicious regarding the death. 

Snow shoveling deaths happen in the area every year. Last year, CBS 58 reported more than five snow-related deaths.

Dr. Amar Ambardecker from Aurora Health Care says shoveling snow is more physically active than you may think.

"Shoveling snow is a lot of cardiovascular activity even if you're using a snow blower. Those snow blowers can be quite heavy, so you've got to push them around. It's very important to have good cardiovascular fitness to do snow shoveling," said Dr. Ambardecker. 

He says prevention is the best way to prevent getting hurt or even killed shoveling snow.

"Making sure that before you even get to these episodes where you need to shovel heavy snow that you're in good cardiovascular shape before doing that. Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise that elevates your heart rate 5 days a week is good to help maintain cardiovascular fitness," said Dr. Ambardecker.

The medical examiner has not released the 55-year-old's cause of death, but these deaths are often caused by heart attack.

"It's very demanding on your heart to shovel heavy snow. It can lead to a heart attack, and if you're out and alone and it's snowing, it can certainly lead to bad outcomes," said Dr. Ambardecker. 

Those with cardiovascular conditions, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetics, elderly people are at higher risk of a heart attack from shoveling snow.

Anyone shoveling snow, especially those with a pre-existing condition or people out of shape should take precautions before shoveling.

According to Dr. Ambardecker:

  1. Go slow
  2. Take breaks
  3. Hydrate
  4. Stretch before
  5. If you feel any chest pain or short of breath stop shoveling

If you need to stop shoveling, ask from help from family of neighbors. Also make sure you dress warmly and appropriately for the weather.

Even if you are in good shape, make sure you're aware of symptoms of exhaustion or heart attack as you're shoveling. The cold can play a factor in the difficulty shoveling has on your body.

"When it's colder outside, your blood vessels constrict, it gets a little harder to the blood flow to the heart so it can exacerbate symptoms that may not have really been there if the temperature was normal," said Dr. Ambardecker. 

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