Heart of a Hunter: Easy things to do to protect the heart

Excitement and physical exertion of hunting can be intense

In just a few weeks, Michigan’s regular firearm season begins and tens of thousands of #1BlogImageV2.fw
camouflaged hunters will head for the woods and shorelines.

For some hunters, heart attacks and sudden cardiac arrests can be brought on by the strenuous exercise and dramatic bursts of activity that hunting can bring.

Fortunately, hunters can take steps now to protect themselves from heart dangers later this fall – and to make sure they’ll know what to do if a fellow hunter goes down.

Some of the easiest things to do right away include:

  • Getting a pre-hunt medical checkup, with special attention to the heart for those who have had heart problems in the past
  • Starting a daily walking routine or other exercise regimen in the weeks before hitting the woods
  • Learning CPR and first aid

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Heart of a Hunter: Meet hunter Cleo Seay, heart attack survivor

Enjoying the great outdoors, seven years after a heart attack

Hunting small game like rabbit and quail and bringing in larger hauls of turkey and deer are important memories and adventures for contractor Cleo Seay, 62, of Flint, Mich. Cleo Seay

The desire to be in nature and enjoy the primal rush of the hunt didn’t change after a heart attack in 2006.

“Hunting season is the one time of year I get to see some of my friends,” says Seay. “We’ll eat, lie, hunt, fish. To be honest if we really wanted to kill a deer, we wouldn’t go in such a big group. Hunting deer is a quiet thing.”

Rather than a tent, he spends nights under the stars in his cork-floored Airstream, but it feels just as good to get away from it all with a dozen close friends on private land in Benton Harbor, Mich. Before loading up his gear we asked Cleo to talk about his journey with heart disease. Continue reading

Heart of a Hunter: Effects of alcohol on the heart

Moderation beats binge drinking during hunting season

Sitting around the campfire and rehashing the day’s hunting feats (or lack of them) often happens with a cold beer or other alcoholic drink in hand. Just be careful not to overdo it.

AlcoholBlogImage.fwConsuming alcohol in moderation, along with an overall healthy lifestyle, is acceptable for most people, says Dr. Michael Shea, who specializes in internal medicine and cardiovascular disease at the University of Michigan Health System. “Too much alcohol can cause direct damage to heart cells as well as nutritional and vitamin deficiencies,” he says.

In addition to being a depressant, alcohol dilates the blood vessels. Alcohol consumption, and particularly “binge” drinking can also lead to electrical conduction issues in the heart, a condition known as atrial fibrillation or “afib”.

The American Heart Association (AHA) advises moderation in drinking — in any environment. An average of one or two drinks per day is considered moderate for men; one drink per day for women.

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