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How Cold Weather Affects Your Heart? How Can You Take Good Care of it This Winter? – Everything You Need to Know

Dr Zakia Khan, Senior Consultant-Interventional Cardiology, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan, tells you all about how winter affects your cardiovascular health, who all are at risk and how can you prevent any severe heart problem during the cold weather.

Published: January 30, 2021 8:21 AM IST

By Lifestyle Staff | Edited by Juhi Kumari

Heart health during winter
Heart health during winter (Picture Courtesy: Instagram/oxypathhealthcare)

As the temperature begins to fall, your risk of getting a heart attack starts increasing. Yes, you read that right. Cold weather can create a storm of risk factors for cardiovascular problems. Thinking how? Read further.

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How does cold weather affects your heart health?

Cold weather can decrease the supply of oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle. And it can put you in situations that force your heart to work harder; as a result, your heart demands more oxygen-rich blood. Lesser supply of oxygen to the heart coupled with a greater demand for oxygen by the heart-sets you up for a heart attack. Cold weather can also increase the risk of developing blood clots, which again could lead to a heart attack or stroke.

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Cold weather induces exertion and leads to heart failure

Cold weather makes your heart work harder to keep your body warm. Your blood vessels constrict so the heart can concentrate on pumping blood to your brain and other major organs. Hypothermia can set-in if your body temperature drops below 95 degrees. It can cause serious damage to the heart muscle. Moreover, walking more rapidly than usual is common when the wind is blowing in your face. Just being out in the cold pushes us to exert ourselves.

Can a flu affect your heart?

A bout of seasonal flu can trigger a heart attack in people already at risk for cardiovascular diseases. It causes fever, which makes your heart beat faster (raising its demand for oxygen). The flu can also cause dehydration, which can reduce your blood pressure (lowering the heart’s supply of oxygen). Again, when demand exceeds supply, it may lead to a heart attack. If you have a heart condition, it is recommended that you talk to your GP about getting a flu vaccine.

Who are most at risk of developing heart attack during winter?

Elderly people and very young children find it harder to regulate their temperature. This puts them at higher risk in extreme temperatures. While protecting your own health, always remember to keep an eye on elderly and vulnerable friends, family & neighbors during colder days to make sure they are warm and comfortable. Make sure that you recognize the symptoms and signs of a heart attack and immediately report it to a medical expert.

Don’t ignore the warning signs

If you feel a severe chest pain which is unbearable and radiating to your neck, shoulder and hand, it is the most common symptom of a heart attack. Symptoms may vary for men and women. Men occasionally complain of nausea and dizziness, whereas women complain of atypical symptoms like dizziness and unexplained fatigue.

Stay healthy, maintain your heart health, live an active life and follow the below-mentioned tips to safeguard your heart health this winter season:

• Eat a healthy Diet

• Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes

• Manage your stress

• Maintain your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels

• If you feel something irregular in your body, meet your physician

• Avoid overindulging during festivals; eat light and healthy meals

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Published Date: January 30, 2021 8:21 AM IST