How can I keep my heart healthy in winter?

How can I keep my heart healthy in winter?
December 18 12:00 2020 by admin Print This Article

Heart attacks can occur at any time and in any season. That being said, there is medical evidence to show that the risk of heart attacks does increase in cold weather. The risk of frostbite and hypothermia in extremely cold conditions is well known, but what is often not understood is that cold weather, even if not extreme, can place additional stress on the heart, and this could cause a heart attack.

The Reasons

There are several reasons why heart attacks are more common in cold conditions. These include:

  • Cold conditions can cause blood vessels to contract. This has the double effect of reducing blood flow to the body, leading to increased metabolic stress. It also could increase blood pressure levels. Both of these place unwanted stress on the heart.
  • Cold-related constriction of the coronary arteries increases the severity and frequency of angina attacks.
  • In cold conditions, when your body loses heat more quickly, it is more difficult for your body to maintain a healthy temperature. More warm blood has to be circulated and this places a greater strain on the heart.
  • In India, the winter is when many holidays and festivals occur. This can lead to excesses in eating, drinking, celebration, and lack of sleep. All this increases the stress on the heart.
  • Holidays and festivals also cause heightened levels of emotional reactions which, if uncontrolled, can lead to cardiac stress.
  • In India, winter is the season for traveling for pleasure. While relaxation and a change of scenery can be good for your health, major changes in daily routines and activities place an increased burden on the heart.
  • In very cold conditions, people tend to stay indoors where it is warm. If that situation occurs for any length of time, ensure that you can get enough exercise while inside so that your circulation does not slow down.
  • Winter is also the time when minor ailments like colds, sore throats, and coughs are common. While these are normally nothing more than minor disorders, they can be serious matters for a person whose heart is already under pressure due to other factors.

 

Risk Factors

These are the common risk factors. If you feel any unusual stress or discomfort, especially if it is chest pain, when you are in a cold climate, consult a doctor, and preferably a heart specialist, without delay and avoid placing any stress on the heart until you have been told that you are not in danger of a heart attack.

  • The first and obvious risk factor has an existing heart condition. This means that you are starting off with a problem, so it is not a question of what could happen but of what is likely to happen.
  • Age is another factor that contributes to heart attacks. A senior citizen finds it more difficult to stay warm in cold conditions because the slower metabolic response makes it difficult for warmth to circulate through the body. In such a situation, increased stress is placed on the heart to pump more blood.
  • Any existing illness or being in the recovery stage of sickness means that the body is not as strong as it should be. This leaves you open to an increased risk of infections. Some sicknesses can place an increased load on the heart.

Prevention

Prevention of heart attacks in winter is a matter of common sense.

  • Stay warm. If you are involved in any physical exertion, wear warm clothes in layers so you can take a few off if you feel too warm without subjecting your body to any sudden temperature change.
  • Drink lots of water. Cold weather can cause rapid dehydration, which strains the metabolic system.
  • Eat light meals that are easy to digest. Ensure that you do not consume too many sweets during festivals and holidays.
  • Avoid going from indoors to outdoors too often. The sudden temperature changes can stress your body and your heart.
  • If you feel unwell, consult a doctor.
  • If you are a heart patient, ask your doctor for advice on special precautions you need to take in cold weather.
  • If you do not have a history of cardiac problems but feel any pain or discomfort in the chest or upper arms, consult a doctor without delay. It may be nothing, but it could also be a way to catch a cardiac problem early before it turns into a heart attack.

 

If you have been diagnosed with a heart condition, talk to a heart specialist about the precautions you need to take in cold conditions. Many people make the mistake of relying on information obtained online to cope with medical problems. This may be acceptable when it is a case of a cold or sore throat, but not when it comes to serious conditions like a cardiac disorder. Each case and each patient is different. Your case may require special precautions in some aspects of cold weather care and perhaps reducing the focus on others. Only a cardiac specialist will be able to give you the advice that is right for you to prevent the occurrence of heart attacks in cold weather.


Kauvery Hospital is globally known for its multidisciplinary services at all its Centers of Excellence, and for its comprehensive, Avant-Grade technology, especially in diagnostics and remedial care in heart diseases, transplantation, vascular and neurosciences medicine. Located in the heart of Trichy (Tennur, Royal Road and Alexandria Road (Cantonment), Chennai, Hosur and Salem, the hospital also renders adult and pediatric trauma care.

Chennai – 044 4000 6000 • Trichy – Cantonment – 0431 4077777 • Trichy – Heartcity – 0431 4003500 • Trichy – Tennur – 0431 4022555 • Hosur – 04344 272727 • Salem – 0427 2677777 • Bengaluru – 080 6801 6801

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2 Comments

  1. aksheydev4545
    December 19, 10:31 #1 aksheydev4545

    Best post

    Reply to this comment
  2. Sudha Thangiraj
    February 21, 20:02 #2 Sudha Thangiraj

    Thank you for the tips. i have recently shifted to north India and they are coming in handy!

    Reply to this comment

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