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Doctors warn hunters about risk of heart attacks

While hunting isn't typically seen as an active sport, doctors say it can still be physically straining.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Colder weather is here and many hunters are ready to spend their days out in the woods.

But doctors are warning about the dangers of heart attacks if hunters aren’t physically prepared for the season.

“[Patients come in complaining of] chest pains and shortness of breath and unexpected fatigue, we see this pretty frequently," said Dr. J. Andre Garabedian, a non-invasive cardiologist at UPMC Heart & Vascular Institute.

Medical experts say for many, the long days of walking up and down hills and mountains can be a shock to the system if hunters are coming off a less active summer.

“They’re carrying all their gear with them, they’re carrying their rifle, they probably are carrying some food and drink and they’re probably wearing somewhere between 15-20 pounds of gear," said Dr. Garabedian.

Even though hunting isn’t seen as a particularly active sport, it can still be physically straining.

“Usually the setup and breakdown of the hunt and if you do actually get a deer or buck, and you have to drag that sometimes, that’s a very physically demanding thing," said Dr. Garabedian.

Hunters are urged to take it easy the first few times they go out, and make sure they’re not alone.

“Make sure you have support with you...even our younger patients, but obviously we’re more worried about our older patients, specifically those who may have heart disease before," said Dr. Garabedian.

If a hunter has any kind of heart condition, doctors are able to give them a permit that allows them to be able to drive on state game lands which will lessen the amount of walking they need to do to get to their hunting site.

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