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Keeping hunters healthy — Healthwatch 16

According to Geisinger, many hunters suffer life-threatening heart attacks or strokes while in the woods.

SHAMOKIN, Pa. — Hunting is a big tradition for a lot of people in northeastern and central Pennsylvania.

Trevor Swope of Middleburg has been hunting all of his life.

"I haven't gotten out this year yet, but opening day for deer is coming up, and I already have that blocked off," Swope said.

Each year, more than one million hunting licenses are issued to Pennsylvania residents. They are excited to go out into the woods, and doctors at Geisinger want to make sure they are physically ready too.

"For many of our patients, going out and hunting is probably the most physically engaging thing they've done in a long time. Just like we have young athletes go out and get checked before they go do their sport, we want hunters to get checked before they go out into the field," said Dr. George Ruiz, chief of cardiology at Geisinger.

Dr. Ruiz saw patients at the health system's free hunters' health screening clinic at the Geisinger Shamokin Area Community Hospital. Dozens of hunters were screened for chest discomfort and possible blockages.

"We're also checking their cholesterol, checking their blood pressure, doing an EKG, and we actually have friends of ours from orthopedics who are working to see if they have any joint issues," Dr. Ruiz.

Geisinger says many people have life-threatening heart attacks or strokes while hunting. This clinic educated hunters about heart health and how to reduce their risk for heart attack and stroke.

"It's extremely nice that they're doing it. I know I'm probably in slightly better health, but it happens out of nowhere," Swope said.

Contact your doctor if you missed this clinic but would still like to be screened.

See more Healthwatch 16 stories on YouTube.  

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