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Heart attacks while hunting: Doctors urge hunters to know the symptoms and listen to your body


The 9-day gun deer season starts this Saturday.

It’s an exciting moment for hunters when that prized deer gets in their sight.

But studies have shown that excitement combined with strenuous hunting activities can put physically unfit hunters at risk of heart attack.

Aspirus Cardiologist Dr. Marcus Sublette says the deer season is sometimes the only time of year that hunters are active.

“Deer hunting can be very physically strenuous, climbing up stands, hauling deer out of the woods. There’s really quite a lot to it,” said Sublette. “When folks are not used to doing that, they put a lot more stress on their heart than they otherwise have been doing, so sometimes when people are deer hunting that’s the first time they start to feel symptoms of a blocked artery.”

Common warning signs of a heart attack include chest tightness and pain, shortness of breath, and lightheadedness.

Sublette urges people to listen to their bodies and not ignore the symptoms.

“If you start feeling unwell, really short of breath, getting chest pain, you need to stop. You need to rest. You should go with someone else, especially if you’re starting to not feel well. And call for help,” said Sublette.

Sublette says regular moderate exercise throughout the year can help reduce your risk of a heart attack during the deer hunting season.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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