Don't forget about your health when preparing for this year's hunt
Brad Ecklor, PA
As you sight in your gun and make sure your blaze orange apparel still fits, it is also a good time to make sure your body is ready for this year's deer hunting season.
The strain of hiking through the woods with your heavy equipment, in what is often inclement weather, can alone increase the stress on your heart. If you include the excitement of sighting and shooting a deer and the struggle of dragging it through the woods, your heart could be in serious danger if you are not physically fit.
While there is not official statistic on how many hunting-related heart attacks occur each year, studies have shown there is a connection between increased heart-attack risk and hunting. Gundersen Boscobel Physician Assistant, Brad Ecklor, recommends maintaining good cardiac health to prevent heart problems. "Exercising daily for 30 minutes is a great way to keep your heart strong," says Brad. "If you have any concerns about your cardiac health, you should have a physical exam performed by your primary healthcare provider before you go hunting."
A routine physical examination includes taking a family history and determining any risk factors the patient may have for heart disease. Some factors included age, gender, excess weight, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and drinking habits and any previous health problems.
Some warning signs of a heart attack include chest discomfort; pain in other areas of the upper body such as the arms, back, neck and stomach; shortness of breath; nausea and light-headedness. If you experience any of these warning signs, stop what you are doing and seek medical help immediately.
Brad offers the following suggestions for a healthy hunting season:
- Don't smoke. If you do smoke, refrain from smoking the day before or during the hunting season.
- Don't drink alcohol before or during hunting.
- Eat a light meal before hunting.
- Ask for help dragging a deer, especially if you have had coronary heart disease.
- Hunt with a friend or family member.
- Spend some time raising your fitness level through regular brisk exercise before the hunting season begins.
For an appointment with Brad Ecklor, PA, or a fellow provider in Boscobel, Fennimore or Muscoda, please call Gundersen Boscobel Area Hospital and Clinics at (608) 375-4144.