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Doctor encourages hunters to be mindful of their hearts this hunting season


Heart disease is the number one cause of the death in the U.S.

Strenuous activities like hunting can increase your likelihood of having a heart attack if you have a cardiac condition.

There are a lot of factors that can increase your risk of heart disease.

High blood pressure and cholesterol, smoking, an unhealthy diet, and lack of physical activity are just a few.

If even one of these applies to you, you could be at greater risk for heart disease.

Aspirus Cardiologist Dr. Marcus Sublette says people often don’t know they have a cardiac condition.

“Many of them go out for deer hunting once per year, and the excitement of deer hunting, as well as the exertional activity of walking through the woods carrying a lot of heavy equipment and hauling a deer out of the woods can lead to development of symptoms that they were not previously aware of,” said Dr. Sublette.

Symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain or pressure in the center or off to the left side of the chest. People have also reported pressure in their left upper arm or shoulder and even radiating in the neck or jaw.

Sublette says if you experience these things and they don’t go away after stopping and resting for a couple of minutes, you should seek medical attention immediately.

“Ways to prevent a heart attack during hunting season is to stay physically active throughout the year, getting regular exercise three times or more per week, and we recommend moderate exercise which can consist of even just walking,” he said. “Staying in shape overall is much better for preventing cardiovascular problems down the line.”

Health risks like a heart attack are one of the reasons why you should always let someone know where you plan on hunting and when you expect to return.

“If you're hunting by yourself, that's fine. But if you're hunting with a group of people have a list of all the people that are hunting with you, where you plan on going to hunt, and the more detailed you are, and where are you planning on a hunt will improve the time it takes for emergency response personnel to get to you if needed, and also when you plan on returning. If you're overdue, that we can send emergency staff out to your location in a timely manner,” said Wisconsin DNR Lt. Conservation Warden Bryan Lockman.

Lockman also encourages hunters to take a first aid kit with them, dress in layers, and make sure you have a cell phone on you.

“CPR is critical too. Sometimes you need to provide that for others and they haven't gone through the training doesn't do any good. Make sure you have CPR training, if possible. Minimal first aid training is critical for when you're out there in the backwoods,” said Lockman.

Lockman also encourages hunters to be cautious with trees stands.

Make sure they’re secured to a healthy tree and use three points of contact when getting in and out of it.

Tree stand-related injuries are some of the most common injuries during hunting season.

The 9-day gun deer season starts this Saturday.

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