Heart attacks are now common in people in their 20s, 30s and even 40s and not only in old people where apart from factors such as high blood pressure, poor eating habits, lack of exercise and stress, even seasonal changes can play havoc with your heart. Yes, you have heard it right! A large number of people tend to suffer from heart attacks during winter when the climate outside is cold.
It will be imperative for you to take utmost care of your heart during winter and lead a healthy life because while winter is pleasing and a preferred season by a majority of people, it is also notorious at the same time. Winter is the time when there is a surge in cases of heart attacks where the cold weather during winters will not only make you prone to respiratory problems or joint pain but even heart diseases.
It won’t be wrong to say that winter is synonymous with heart attacks. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Praveen Kulkarni, Senior Cardiologist at Global Hospital in Mumbai, revealed, “Those who smoke, lead a sedentary lifestyle, and have high blood pressure or high cholesterol are at risk of suffering from a heart attack during winter.” Talking about how the cold weather can impact your heart, he shared:
• According to various studies, heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, cardiovascular issues, arrhythmias, and disorders are on the rise during winter due to the sudden climatic change as the temperature drops unexpectedly. If the temperature outside is cold then the body’s sympathetic nervous system gets activated leading to narrow blood vessels known as ‘vasoconstriction’. Hence, once blood pressure suddenly goes up and the heart will have to work harder in order to pump blood to other organs present in the body and this way, one will get a heart attack.
• Also, one will not be able to maintain body heat due to chilly weather and he/she can get hypothermia, which can cause difficult damage to the heart’s blood vessels inviting a heart attack.
• Even those with pre-existing heart conditions need to be cautious. The chances of heart attacks are high in ones who are already detected with heart problems or have a previous history of a heart attack.
• Moreover, when the winter starts, one is not able to exercise due to the cold weather outside and that can be bad for your heart. Apart from this, people also opt for comfort foods that can make them fall prey to heart problems during winter. Although, these are some of the indirect factors responsible for heart attacks. Air pollution is another worrisome factor that can give you a tough time to your heart.
The signs and symptoms of a heart attack are chest pain, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and tiredness. Do not ignore these red flags and seek timely medical intervention.
How to keep heart attack at bay during winter
Dr Praveen Kulkarni advised –
• Dress appropriately: Cover yourself in layers suited for the weather. Doing so can help you to stay warm and protect your heart during winter. So, it will be essential for you to wear hats, gloves, and sweaters.
• Exercise daily: A daily physical activity will boost immunity; help regulate body heat and stay fit. Exercise only after the advice of the doctor. But avoid exercising in cold weather. Moreover, it is better to remain indoors and avoid extreme cold.
• Monitor your blood pressure: Keeping your blood pressure and blood sugar levels in check can reduce the risk of a heart attack.
• Opt for a well-balanced diet: Eat fresh fruits, vegetables, pulses, legumes, whole grains, berries, legumes, flaxseeds, spinach, carrot, and broccoli. Drink soups to stay warm. But, avoid junk, spicy, oily, and canned food.
• Regular heart check-ups: Go for cardiac screening after every 6 months as suggested by the doctor.
• Avoid alcohol: Avoid excess alcohol.
• Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR): Learn about the CPR technique that can help you to save the life of a person having a heart attack.