Heart Attack And Cold Weather: Causes And Prevention
Physiological changes occur in response to cold weather. Winter affects the heart in several ways.
The risk of heart attacks is higher during winter. It is important to take preventive measures in winter, especially if you are at high risk of suffering a heart attack. These are some of the reasons and ways you can prevent heart attacks during winter.
HOW DOES COLD WEATHER AFFECT YOUR HEART?
Cold weather causes several physiological changes in the body. Several factors contribute to the poor health of your heart during cold weather. These are:
Increased load of heart
In order to keep the body warm, the heart needs to pump constantly. This results in an increased workload for the heart. Cold weather also causes arteries to constrict. Consequently, the heart must work harder in order to circulate blood. A heart attack may be caused by an excessive load on the heart.
Constriction of arteries
Blood and essential nutrients are supplied to the heart by the coronary arteries. As with other arteries, the coronary artery constricts during winter. This results in inadequate blood supply to the heart. A heart attack can be caused by cardiac overload combined with interrupted blood flow into the heart.
Insufficient blood volume
During winters, the blood volume increases. By sweating, we lose approximately 200-250 ml of fluid per day. Blood volume increases as a result, and consequently, blood pressure does as well. This does not happen in winter. . As well, sweat reduces the amount of salt (sodium) in the body, which is not the case in the winter. As a result, blood pressure increases. Increased blood pressure can lead to a heart attack.
Overload of fluid:
Fluid overload is a risk for people with left ventricular dysfunction in winter. This can cause a heart attack.
WHO IS AT HIGH RISK?
Winter can be a dangerous time for heart attacks for some people. Among the risks are:
Aged people: The falling temperatures put older people at risk for heart attacks during winter. Older people have less muscle mass, making cold temperatures more intolerable.
Alcoholics and smokers: Smoking reduces the flexibility of the arteries. By increasing blood flow to the skin, alcohol removes heat from other organs.
THE SYMPTOMS OF A HEART ATTACK
At-risk people and caregivers must be aware of the symptoms of a heart attack. This will help the patient receive immediate medical care. These symptoms are common:
- Chest pain or discomfort,
- Jaw, arm, and neck pain,
- Nausea, and dizziness
- Severe sweating
- Indigestion, heartburn, and bloating
- As well as fatigue.
HOW TO REACT IN CASE OF A HEART ATTACK?
The patient should take the following measures if he thinks he has suffered a heart attack:
- Get medical help immediately.
- Avoid heart damage by taking aspirin if you are not allergic to it,
- If your doctor prescribes nitroglycerin, take it as directed
- The caregiver should perform CPR on the unconscious patient or use an automated external defibrillator(AED), if available
- Take a seat, rest, and wait for the ambulance to arrive.
HOW TO PREVENT FROM HEART ATTACKS IN WINTERS?
There are several ways to reduce the risk of a heart attack during winter. These include:
Limit exposure to cold: Go outside only when necessary. Wear warm socks and shoes when you move outside. Ensure that you cover your body with layers of clothing.
Do not overheat: Wearing warm clothes while exercising will cause you to overheat. This may cause blood vessels to dilate, resulting in hypotension.
Do not overexert yourself: Performing too much physical activity can negatively impact the heart.
Get vaccinated for the flu: People are at a higher risk of getting the flu during the winter months. It can lead to heart problems. It is best to get vaccinated against the flu during this time of year.
Avoid drinking alcohol: Heat is transferred from the body’s internal organs to the skin by alcohol. Alcohol and smoking should be avoided.
Schedule regular health checkups: Even people with no history of cardiovascular disease should undergo regular cardiac checks.