CARDIAC CARE IN WINTER: HOW TO AVOID SERIOUS HEALTH RISKS?
Winter is here, are you prepared for it? If you are not, then this article is for you. Winter can be a season of cold, flu, and viruses. But did you know it’s also the time when some people are at the highest risk of heart-related problems. It might sound surprising, but chilly weather can have a significant impact on your heart health. During winters, taking in more oxygen allows your body to produce more nitric oxide which causes blood vessels to relax so they don’t restrict blood flow. This isn't always a good thing though because if the cold weather continues long enough, eventually these relaxed vessels will contract again leading to higher blood pressure levels and lower heart rates - both of which are bad news for cardiac patients looking to avoid serious health risks.
THE RISKS OF HEART DISEASE IN WINTER
So, what does this mean for those of us with heart conditions? The risks of heart disease increase during colder weather. If you have a pre-existing condition, the cold weather may increase your blood pressure and your heart rate to drop more quickly – which can be dangerous.
Cold temps can also lead to sudden changes in weight, muscle mass, and cholesterol levels too. These fluctuations could lead to a longer recovery time if there is an underlying cardiac condition.
TIPS FOR CARDIAC CARE IN WINTER
So, what can you do to prepare for winter? Here are some tips to help.
1) Stay Warm: It is the first step to protect your heart in winter. The best thing you can do is layer up with plenty of clothing and a good coat, and maybe even a scarf and gloves. Wrapping up will help keep your body heat in an avoid letting cold air in. This also includes keeping your head and ears warm!
2) Seek Out Sunlight: Sunlight helps dilate blood vessels which makes it easier for them to relax when the weather cools off. So, this is another way to alleviate the risk of high blood pressure or low heart rate during winter months. Just be careful not to get too much sun! Prolonged exposure to UV rays isn't good for your skin and could lead to premature aging and wrinkles. Find a balance between getting out in the sun and staying out in the cold that works best for you.
3) Don’t Skip Exercise. Bring it Indoors or exercise in day light(warm climate)
4) Avoid alcohol consumption & smoking
5) Manage Your Stress
6) Opt for Regular Health Checkups
7) Eat healthy heart diet
8) Maintain your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels
MAKE SURE YOU GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Despite what you might think, cold weather isn't the only thing that can affect your heart health. Too little sleep is also a risk factor for heart problems. Lack of sleep may cause you to produce more adrenaline which can lead to high blood pressure and heart rate. It might sound like a good idea to stay awake until midnight to make up for lost time, but this will actually increase your risk for cardiac-related disease.If you're feeling sleepy already, it's best to go ahead and get some rest before it becomes harder to fall asleep once the cold temperatures arrive. You'll rest better knowing that you're protecting your heart health during winter months!
Dr. Naveen Krishna. K
MD, DM(PGI Chandigarh)
Interventional Cardiologist, Star Hospitals
For Appointments, Call: 040 44 77 77 00