As the temperatures begin to take a dive, we know winter is heading our way. Winter weather can be especially risky for your health if you have had a heart attack, have heart disease, or are over age 65. Be advised of the following winter precautions to reduce your risk of heart issues.
What Cold Temps Do To Our Bodies and Heart
Most of us don’t give a lot of thought to the coming of winter other than planning for the holidays. However, it’s important to understand that colder temps bring on some challenges for those with a heart condition or high blood pressure.
The cold air can cause constriction of blood vessels like coronary arteries, plus it decreases the oxygen supply to your heart making it work harder and possibly leading to a heart attack.
Some of the negative changes to our body and heart during cold weather include the following:
- An increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- The likelihood of clotting
- Blood vessels contract
- Our heart works harder
There are multiple ways to manage the cold weather and remain healthy.
Get Familiar With Layers
Wear several lightweight layers to protect you from the cold temperatures while outside. Wear warm socks, shoes, a hat, gloves, and a scarf as additional protection.
Don’t Overdo It
Shoveling snow can wait if the temps are below freezing. If you must shovel, begin by warming up like you would do before any exercise. Take breaks the minute you feel like you are over-exerting or if you start to sweat. Getting overheated is just as damaging to your heart as the cold. Wait until the sun warms the air before beginning to shovel snow.
Best idea: hire young person in the neighborhood to do it for you.
See New Jersey Cardiology Associates
You want to manage any blood pressure issues, abnormal cholesterol, and other heart disease concerns, so plan an appointment before the end of the year.
Maintain A Heart Healthy Diet
It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday “cheer” with lots of parties, foods, and alcohol. Know your limits and stay on track.
Watch For Warning Signs
Know the warning signs of a heart attack: dizziness, sweating, lightheadedness, and tightness in the chest. Call 911 if you think you could be having a heart attack.
Get Your Flu Shot
It is especially important for those with heart conditions to get their flu shot, as it can protect against cardiovascular events associated with influenza.
Contact New Jersey Cardiology Associates to schedule a pre-winter check up and for other suggestions to prevent a heart issue this winter.