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Winter is often pleasing but it can also be bothersome when it comes to your heart. Winter is the time when high-risk people or those with cardiac issues, may get a heart attack. To top it all, people with cardiac problems are in the high-risk category and may get sick due to Coronavirus.
Wondering how winter affects your heart? Well, the sudden drop in the temperature causes narrowing of peripheral vessels thus putting extra pressure on your heart. This results in a low supply of oxygen to the heart because of the increased demand of the heart. As a result, your heart will have to make extra efforts to pump oxygen and blood. Hence, those suffering from cardiac arrest can have symptoms that may also lead to loss of life.
According to a study, there is about a 2 per cent increase in the risk of getting cardiac attacks for every 1.8-degree Fahrenheit decrease in temperature. In 2015, another study revealed that if you compare the coldest month of the year to the warmest month of the year there is a 31 per cent increase in heart attacks in the coldest months. It is the time when one's blood vessels may contract and this can shoot up your blood pressure putting you at the risk of a cardiac attack or even a stroke. Even the ones who are unaware of their pre-existing heart conditions are prone to heart diseases in this season.
If one's body temperature goes below 95 degrees then they will suffer from hypothermia that can take a toll on the heart muscle. Thus, people who spend maximum time in cold weather, especially sports enthusiasts can suffer from accidental hypothermia. This is the stage when the body loses heat faster than it can produce heat causing a dangerously low body temperature; it can prove fatal. People who are more than 60 years with hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, smokers, or tobacco chewers can get chest pain. Another important factor is that emotional stress which will invite a heart attack.
Being in a cold environment causes the body to make certain physiological adjustments in order to preserve the body's own temperature. These adjustments made by the body can be challenging for people with cardiac issues. Among many other things, winter can lead to:
- Increases your heart rate.
- Increases your blood pressure.
- Your heart to work substantially harder.
- Increases your chances of blood clotting.
The factors mentioned above can cause severe harm to your cardiac health. While it is recommended for everyone to take proper care when they are in a cold environment, precautions are especially important if you have a heart problem. Here's a plan to keep your heart in top shape during those chilly days.
You should exertion in cold weather if you have any existing heart problems. Try to take frequent breaks and stay warm. Wear woolen clothes, caps, and gloves. Or wear layers and even full socks. Keep your house well-heated. Beware of cardiac attack symptoms like chest pain, nausea, and even drowsiness. Avoid exercising in cold weather. Instead, opt for indoor exercises. Do not do any exercises that pressurize your heart.
If you are one of those who have a high blood pressure problem, then it is imperative for you to keep an eye on your numbers, as doing so can minimize your risk of a cardiac attack. Hence, you must take the medications prescribed by the doctor on time.
Alcohol may expand the blood vessels in the skin and make you feel warmer by taking out heat from your body's vital organs. Similarly, smoking leads to atherosclerosis. Not only this, those who smoke can also encounter a heart attack. Smoking reduces the oxygen flow towards the heart, raises your heart rate and blood pressure.
Opt for fresh fruit and vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes, and pulses. Drink a warm soup or eat hot meals. Avoid eating food jam-packed with salt or sugar. Say NO to processed, junk, and oily foods. Cut down on saturated fats and maintain an optimum weight.
Cold temperatures cause physiological stress on anyone. If you have heart disease, cold temperatures can be dangerous or even life-threatening. Try relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation as it will reduce your stress and help you cool down.
(With inputs from IANS)
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