Heart patients, watch out! Winter can be deadlier than summer

It's winter and heart patients have a reason to worry. An expert says that winter can be deadlier than summer for people with heart issues.
Keep your heart healthy in winter
Keep your heart healthy and safe in winter. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 22 Dec 2022, 10:15 am IST
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Your winter clothes are out and so are your grandmother’s recipes of foods that you must have to stay warm. The chill in the air might be a welcome change from the sweltering summer heat, and you must enjoy it too, but with caution. People, especially who have an existing heart condition, need to be more careful as the cold weather can actually put your heart health at risk. Over the years, studies have shown that winter is deadlier than summer for heart patients. Worry not as you just need to keep a few points in mind to keep your heart healthy in winter.

Around four years ago, a study was carried out by cardiologists at Leeds General Infirmary. At the time, researchers found that severe heart attacks are more likely to be deadly when they happen in chilly months as compared to warmer ones.

To know more, Health Shots reached out to healthcare innovator and cardiovascular surgeon Dr Shriram Nene.

biohacks for winter
Take care of your heart during winter. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What happens to the heart during winter?

Any time of the year can be fatal for heart patients, but it seems like the winter months are even worse. Nene says that be it winter or summer, both can have consequences, but in the chilly season, several things happen. Here’s what the doctor explained.

When the cold weather strikes, it causes arteries to constrict, which in turn raises blood pressure. Ultimately, it puts more strain on the heart. Your heart has to work harder in winter to maintain core temperatures to your chest and to your brain. It’s that amount of extra work on your heart that might lead to issues, particularly if you have a coronary artery disease. Also, in places where there is snow, and you are shoveling snow or doing some activities in the snow, it can increase work of the heart.

Older people are more affected by the temperature drop in winter

Elders with a heart condition need to be more cautious as they do not have the same homeostatic mechanism like the younger folks. Hence, their ability to maintain the temperature as well as maintain blood pressure and flow are not as good as when you are in your prime, explained the expert. Elderly people are already strained more than the younger person, and on top of that, they are not able to maintain the temperature so their heart has to work harder.

post cardiac surgery
Avoid heavy lifting during winter. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Ways to protect heart during winter

You don’t have to lock yourself in and live in fear! Just follow these simple tips.

* If you are going out, layer your clothing, and make sure you cover your legs and arms.
* Always wear a warm cap or hat if the weather is cold because 30 percent of your heat is lost from your head. It has a high blood flow to it.
* Leep yourself warm.
* Also, try not to do any heavy lifting or heavy activities, especially in the snow if you have a heart disease.

Taking care of heart is different in winter from summer

In the summer time, you might have to do more activities as you are out. So, you can overheat and you can get a heatstroke. In those situations, Nene said that you just have to watch your fluid status, so that you don’t get dehydrated. That can put undue strain and cause your heart to work harder. In the winter time, it’s different as it’s all about trying to protect your brain and heart and keeping your core temperature warm.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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