While the slight nip in the air is comforting and a sign of relief from the scorching heat, there are health implications that come with the change in seasons that one must be aware of. Special care must be undertaken by those who have pre-existing lifestyle diseases, the elderly and in young children.
It is a known fact that the number of deaths due to heart attacks, cardiac arrests and strokes increase during the winters. There are several reasons to support this; firstly the reduction in the daylight hours affects the hormonal balance of the body and causes Vitamin D deficiency a common trigger for heart attacks.
Additionally, cold temperatures cause the heart arteries to condense thereby restricting the blood and oxygen flow to the heart. This often causes a rise in the blood pressure. The cold weather also triggers bouts of depression especially amongst the elderly population causing an increase in stress levels and hypertension. People suffering from winter blues are also seen indulging in high sugar, trans fat and sodium comfort food, which can be extremely dangerous for the diabetic and hypertensive population. The temperature drop also increases the chances of blood clot formation, since blood platelets are more active and stickier.
The risks of developing serious cardiovascular concerns during winter months can be prevented and easily managed by making some habitual changes to one’s lifestyle. It is advised that heart patients shouldn’t consume alcohol quantities during in winter months as it can cause atrial fibrillation. A heart healthy diet must be followed, and binge eating should be avoided. Eating small and frequent meals is recommended as it helps eradicate overeating.
A few tips that can help
- Keep a close tab on your cholesterol levels, as they can fluctuate in the winters. Immediately consult your doctor in case you notice something unusual, borderline high cholesterol levels can put you at an increased risk of a heart attack
- Don’t stress your heart, regularly step out in sunlight and adequate amounts of aerobic exercise
- Don’t indulge in high-intensity workouts excessive exhaustion can over stress your heart. Take rest breaks so that you don’t feel too tired suddenly while walking
- Don’t go for a walk in extreme chilly mornings, instead go out when the sun is out
- Ask your doctor to adjust the dosage of your routine medicines
- Hypothermia is one such problem that majority of heart patients encounter during winters. To keep the risk of hypothermia away, it is suggested that you stay warmly clad
- Don’t ignore any unusual symptoms like slight discomfort in the chest, sweating, pain in jaw and shoulders, pain in neck and arms and shortness of breath. Immediately, reach out for medical assistance in case you suffer from any of these symptoms
Prevention is always better than cure. A little extra care can help make the holiday months, more enjoyable and heart healthy.
Feature Image Source: thesolitarywriter.com
This post was first published in November 2015