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Risk Of Heart Attack, Heart Failure, Stroke Is High In Winter: Cardiac Surgeon Explains Why

Winter can give you a tough time to your heart. Read on to know why the risk of heart-related problems, including heart attack, heart failure, and arrhythmia, increases as temperature drops.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori |Updated : January 26, 2023 3:41 PM IST

Cold weather is generally considered as healthy season in our part of the world. But if you have existing heart problems then getting expose to excessive cold can trigger heart issues. Among people with existing heart problems, chest pain and heart attacks are common during winter.

We connected with Dr Bipeenchandra Bhamre, Consultant Cardiac Surgeon at Sir H. N. Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre in Mumbai, to understand how winter increases heart-related problems.

Why risk of heart-related problems increases in winter?

Though winter is pleasant, the cold weather can raise the risk of a variety of health issues. The drop in temperature can aggravate heart problems. The cold weather can cause the blood vessels to contract and increase the blood pressure and thus chances of heart attack and stroke. Moreover, angina (chest pain due to coronary heart disease) can also be noticed in winter when coronary arteries constrict due to cold weather and the sudden drop in temperature.

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As the temperature drops, one's body and heart will have to work harder to maintain a healthy body temperature. This can increase the pressure on the heart and raise the risk of heart attack, heart failure, and arrhythmia during winter. In winter, heart attacks occur more often in the early morning, which is linked to morning BP surge.

Moreover, people tend to stress themselves a lot during winter and this also invites heart problems. According to various studies, low temperature can constrict the blood vessels, leading to hypertension and aggregate the blood clotting process.

Given the above reasons, it is crucial to take utmost care of your heart during winter, especially those with existing health problems.

How to keep your heart healthy during winter

  • If the weather outside is cold, make sure you're appropriately dressed before going out. Wear full-sleeved clothes and a sweater.
  • Try to work out indoors instead of going out in cold weather. Regular exercise can help you to maintain optimum weight and improve your heart health.
  • Maintain your blood pressure in the recommended range as suggested by the doctor.
  • Stick to a heart-healthy diet and cut down on alcohol and smoking which can cause a heart attack.
  • It is essential for you to go for regular cardiac screening and make sure that your heart is functioning at its best.

Warning signs and symptoms of heart attack, Stroke

Severe chest pain is the most common symptom of heart attacks. Other red flags of impending heart attack include shortness of breath; pain or discomfort in the arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach; nausea or vomiting, dizziness, cold sweat, sensation of heartburn, sudden fatigue.

Warning signs and symptoms of a stroke: A droop or uneven smile on a person's face; Arm numbness or weakness; Slurred speech; vision troubles, in one or both eyes; fatigue; and trouble walking.

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