Cold weather can impact the body in many ways. It’s important to be aware of the risks that come with lower temperatures so that you can know how to prevent issues and have the knowledge to know when it’s time to reach out to a healthcare professional for help. One side effect of winter many are not familiar with is the increased risk of a heart attack. Thankfully, arming yourself with the facts about how it happens can help you to take steps to help lessen the risks of it from occurring altogether.
Snowstorms or snow in general can cause dangerous circumstances. In fact, 21% of vehicle crashes are weather-related. You may often have heard of someone falling due to snow and ice. Unfortunately, falls aren’t the only health risk this season. A study published in 2015 found that there was a 31% increase in heart attacks in the colder months. Fortunately, knowing the cause can help to make your winter a little safer.
It all has to do with what happens to your blood in the cold temperatures. The freezing and below-freezing temperatures causes the blood vessels to tighten due to the decrease in the supply of oxygen-rich blood. However, your heart needs that oxygen-rich blood. When it doesn’t get enough, it can put you at risk for a heart attack in addition to the raised cholesterol levels due to the increased blood flow occurring as your body tries to keep warm. Another factor is hormones. Getting less sun causes a hormonal imbalance, which can be a trigger for a cardiac event.
Dress for the season. Those who love the frigid temperatures say that there isn’t really cold temperatures, just people are not dressed warm enough. Protect your body by always making sure you have a hat, coat, gloves and warm shoes on.
If your doctor has given you the okay to shovel, do so in small increments. Don’t be outside more than 15 minutes shoveling if your body is not used to it. While you should always be cautious about pushing your body too far, this is increasingly true in cold temps.
Limit Alcohol Use
Not only is alcohol not good for the heart, it can also give the illusion that you are warmer than what you are. This could cause you to not protect yourself from the cold as well.
Be Cautious with High Fat Foods
It’s the season with many goodies that people look forward to all year. It’s fine to indulge in moderation, but adding an excessive amount of food high in fats and sugar is not doing your heart any favors.
Stress is very damaging to the body, but it can be hard to avoid this time of year. Do what you can to eliminate stress this season. If you aren’t able to escape your stress, consider a variety of breathing techniques to take your mind off of your troubles. Take time to really enjoy this time of year and celebrate with loved ones. Focusing outwardly on others can help to eliminate our own stress. Maybe it’s something you can do to help them or a thoughtful gift. We have a variety of items that may be perfect for any loved ones you have with respiratory problems.
Be attentive of your heart health by taking these
precautions and knowing the signs to be aware of when your heart is having
issues. If you’re concerned with your heart health, reach out to PulseAir today! We’re your heart experts.