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West Virginia Wildlife
In Shape For Hunting II
Patrick McMurtry Recognize Early Heart Attack Symptoms Before Hitting The Woods

November 13, 2013
Reporter: Patrick McMurtry
Videographer: Brad Rice


Of all the days of the year, opening day of buck season is circled on more calendars than any other for hunters everywhere. It just doesn't get any better than grabbing your tree stand, loading up your gear and taking your family or friends out for opening day. But before you do that, please, make sure you're not putting yourself at risk for a heart attack. Shawn Bastine is the executive director of the cardiac unit at Cabell Huntington hospital, he offers advice for hunters.

"A lot of times, when hunters are in the field, it's opening day , they don't want to miss the first day of season or they are having some shortness of breath or symptoms and they want to get out there for a day and they think it will go away. That's the mistake the hunters are making."

It happens every year, hunters have heart attacks out in the woods, and, sometimes, they don't make it. That's why Shawn says its so important to make sure you know the warning signs of a heart attack before you go hunting, especially if you're hunting alone.

"A lot of people that have heart attacks have early warning symptoms, these are really important if they can identify them early, we can treat their symptoms before it becomes a major problem. In about 50 percent of the heart attacks we see, we believe we could have prevented them." says Bastine.

Most of us know about some of the symptoms...chest pains, pain in the arm, but Shawn says there are other things you definitely should recognize before you put yourself at risk.

"There are kind of a group of things, not any one symptom. We talk about shortness of breath, fatigue and pain in the jaw, weakness in the jaw, nausea, all of these are atypical to people, general fatigue, if you put these together, they are warning signs we want people to recognize." says Bastine.

And if you recognize them early, and get treatment, chances are way better you'll be around to hunt opening day for years to come.

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