ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WJBK) - A 49-year-old man died while shoveling snow in Royal Oak, the medical examiner confirms to FOX 2.
Many got out their shovels or snowblowers early Tuesday morning, after the first major snow of the season had fallen overnight. Many cities saw several inches of snow.
Royal Oak Police say they received a 911 call around 6:50 a.m. about an unconscious man inside a home in the 1100 block of Millard.
The man was clearing snow from his driveway and went back inside. Police say a family member found him collapsed and began CPR.
Police say the man has a history of health concerns, but didn't elaborate.
Experts say 1,500 people die in the U.S. every year from shoveling snow.
"It's a perfect storm. It's arm work; it's straining; it's breath holding; it's largely standing still; and it's the cold temperatures, which constrict the arteries. So, when your heart needs more blood and oxygen the cold is constricting the arteries and giving it less blood and oxygen flow," says Dr. Barry Franklin from Beaumont Hospital.
He says men and women with heart problems shouldn't shovel snow, and even snowblowing can be dangerous. He recommends hiring a neighbor or a snow removal service.
"The problem is, we call heart disease the silent disease and, often times, the first, the last - the only symptom - is sudden cardiac death," he says. "I tell older individuals, if you're over 45 or 50, assume you've got cardiovascular disease and be very, very careful about an activity like snow removal. It really creates a tremendous load on the heart and every year we see emergencies and sudden deaths like the one that occurred in Royal Oak."
Authorities haven't yet named the man who died Tuesday in Royal Oak.