© 2019 Copyright by P. K. H. Groth, Denver, Colorado, USA All rights reserved - See contact page for for permission to republish article excerpts.
Your Heart Will Work Harder in Colorado’s High Country: Let’s talk again about your heart, which will work harder at high altitudes. Doing anything at high altitude places a stress on your heart and the circulatory system it services. High blood pressure will increase in the lower air pressure at high altitude. Dehydration and digestion of large meals (especially in late evenings) sends blood to the digestive system and increases metabolic stress, which adds to cardiac stress. Acclimation to high altitudes is extremely important for people with heart problems or who are overweight. Researchers analyzed 301 sudden cardiac arrest deaths of Austrian mountain hikers. They found that people who slept at lower elevations the day before vigorous mountain exercise were five times as likely to die of heart attacks as people who slept at higher elevations. They had not acclimated to the stresses of higher altitudes. If you are a lowlander, spend a few days adjusting to high altitude before hunting begins. In-The Field Heart Monitoring: Usually about twelve Michigan hunters die of heart attacks each year. To see why, Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, equipped 25 hunters with portable heart monitors. This provided detailed afield hunter heart data. Merely seeing a deer made some men’s heart rates double. Sighting a big buck made the heart really race in some of the men. The researchers then put hunters through treadmill tests to find their maximum allowable heart rates. The maximum allowable rates for most men were reached or exceeded when stalking, shooting at the deer, or dragging a kill! Many of the men had absolutely no idea they had approached or exceeded their individual danger point. The researchers recommended: Prepare Extensively and Early: a. Get into an exercise program to build endurance WELL BEFORE the hunting season. b. Have a doctor check for heart disease, particularly if you smoke, are overweight, have high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, diabetes or have other heart risk factors. c. Don’t drag a deer or elk alone; get help. Field dressing a 700 pound animal can be highly stressful to your heart. Proceed slowly and take frequent rests. Don’t heft or carry 70-90 pound game quarters: DRAG THEM! After the Kill: At the sight of animals, the adrenaline kicks in and the heartbeat rate increases, followed by elevated blood pressure. Some hunters may hold their breath while they wait for a cleart shot and sight on the game. This begins a drop in blood oxygen level and may increase the heart pulse rate. So it is no wonder that the time immediately after making a kill has been a life-threatening period for hunters, especially if they are in adverse conditions and run to the kill site. A number of hunters have heart attacks at this time of excitement. Emotionally calm down before approaching the animal. Notch your license. Sip some water. Get your wits back under control. Let your heart calm. Do not immediately chase a wounded animal. Wait a few minutes (a minimum of 30 minutes is the rule) and then quietly and slowly pursue it. This will allow the animal to lay down and die without running afar, and you having to also run far to find it (and haul it back). Breathe deeply during this waiting time to increase oxygen absorption. The oxygen will allow your heart beat to slow while maintaining good blood circulation. Sip some more water - you may need extra hydration later to field dress a large elk, especially if you are alone. Heart Attacks and Anger: An international study of 12,000 people in 52 countries who had their first heart attack showed that heavy physical exertion AND emotional stress increases the chance of a heart attack within an hour. The McMaster University study found that 14.4% of victims were angry or emotionally upset more than at the same hour of the previous day. Again, stay calm, collected and relaxed when seeing/shooting game and field dressing your harvest. Most heart attacks occurr between 6 AM and 6 PM hunting time. Reving Up Your Heart at Altitude: Should you take a chance to go hunting? First let’s review what happens to mammal hearts at increased altitude. An estimated more than 140 million people live at an altitude above 2,500 meters, and may develop blood hypoxia and cardiac stress. Pulmonary pressure falls from 150 mm of mercury at sea-level to 100 mg at 3000 meters and, and then rapidly plummets to 43 mg on Mt Everest. The body responds to increased altitude by hyperventilating, increasing heart rates and increasing red blood cell production in bones in attempts to keep blood oxygen levels at sea level values. This vascular remodeling places stress only on the right heart ventricle. In plain language, the body wants more blood circulated through the lungs. This means more pulmonary pressure is needed. The right heart ventricle which supplies bloods to the lungs will strain and eventually enlarge to meet the challenges of exertion. Continued exertion at high altitude results in a “high altitude heart” or “mountain climber heart”. How much body and cardiac stress occurs depends on how fast a person changes altitude, how quickly they ascend, their physical endurance, and perhaps altitude-influenced genetics. Wilkins et al (2015) relate that first responders to extreme altitudes are most likely to immediately develop high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE), or experience right heart failure days, weeks, months or years after altitude stress. The bottom line is that each person must assess their physical abilities, age, health problems and prepare accordingly. Get in shape months before hunting season. Plan your trip to gradually rise in altitude, even if it means joining another hunting group. And pace yourself when afield – and learn to say “no” to challenges beyond your rational capabilities
Hunter Heart Attacks
© 2016 -2017 Copyright by P. K. H. Groth, Denver, Colorado, USA All rights reserved - See contact page for for permission to republish article excerpts.
Your Heart Will Work Harder in Colorado’s High Country: Let’s talk again about your heart, which will work harder at high altitudes. Doing anything at high altitude places a stress on your heart and the circulatory system it services. High blood pressure will increase in the lower air pressure at high altitude. Dehydration and digestion of large meals (especially in late evenings) sends blood to the digestive system and increases metabolic stress, which adds to cardiac stress. Acclimation to high altitudes is extremely important for people with heart problems or who are overweight. Researchers analyzed 301 sudden cardiac arrest deaths of Austrian mountain hikers. They found that people who slept at lower elevations the day before vigorous mountain exercise were five times as likely to die of heart attacks as people who slept at higher elevations. They had not acclimated to the stresses of higher altitudes. If you are a lowlander, spend a few days adjusting to high altitude before hunting begins. In-The Field Heart Monitoring: Usually about twelve Michigan hunters die of heart attacks each year. To see why, Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, equipped 25 hunters with portable heart monitors. This provided detailed afield hunter heart data. Merely seeing a deer made some men’s heart rates double. Sighting a big buck made the heart really race in some of the men. The researchers then put hunters through treadmill tests to find their maximum allowable heart rates. The maximum allowable rates for most men were reached or exceeded when stalking, shooting at the deer, or dragging a kill! Many of the men had absolutely no idea they had approached or exceeded their individual danger point. The researchers recommended: Prepare Extensively and Early: a. Get into an exercise program to build endurance WELL BEFORE the hunting season. b. Have a doctor check for heart disease, particularly if you smoke, are overweight, have high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, diabetes or have other heart risk factors. c. Don’t drag a deer or elk alone; get help. Field dressing a 700 pound animal can be highly stressful to your heart. Proceed slowly and take frequent rests. Don’t heft or carry 70-90 pound game quarters: DRAG THEM! After the Kill: At the sight of animals, the adrenaline kicks in and the heartbeat rate increases, followed by elevated blood pressure. Some hunters may hold their breath while they wait for a cleart shot and sight on the game. This begins a drop in blood oxygen level and may increase the heart pulse rate. So it is no wonder that the time immediately after making a kill has been a life-threatening period for hunters, especially if they are in adverse conditions and run to the kill site. A number of hunters have heart attacks at this time of excitement. Emotionally calm down before approaching the animal. Notch your license. Sip some water. Get your wits back under control. Let your heart calm. Do not immediately chase a wounded animal. Wait a few minutes (a minimum of 30 minutes is the rule) and then quietly and slowly pursue it. This will allow the animal to lay down and die without running afar, and you having to also run far to find it (and haul it back). Breathe deeply
Hunter Heart Attacks