Protect your Heart in Winter
Winter and cold temperatures can be hazardous. It is time to be more careful in winter because the temperature increases the risk of heart attacks. Those who spend most of their time outdoors in cold weather need to be more careful. So, it’s important to know how cold weather can affect your heart, especially if you have cardiovascular disease. (Image source:Gettyimages.in)
How does Cold Weather affect the Heart?
The dangers of being outdoors in cold weather are often overlooked. Cold temperature, high winds, snow and rain can also rob the body off heat. Cold winds are more dangerous as they can remove the layer of heated air from around your body. As a result, outdoor activities (especially lifting a heavy shovel full of snow, walking through gushing winter winds and exerting activities) in cold weather can strain a person's heart and cause accidental hypothermia. (Image source:Gettyimages.in)
Hypothermia refers to a condition in which the body's temperature drops below what is required for normal metabolism and body functions. It occurs when your body can't produce enough energy to keep the internal body temperature warm enough. The symptoms of hypothermia are mental confusion, slow reactions, shivers and drowsiness.(Image source:Gettyimages.in)
Who is at Risk?
Our body’s ability to maintain a normal internal body temperature decreases as we age. Children, the elderly and heart patients are at greater risk of hypothermia in cold weather, being relatively insensitive to moderately cold conditions. Those with coronary heart disease often suffer angina pectoris (chest pain or discomfort) when they're in cold weather.(Image source:Gettyimages.in)
Keeping Heart Problems Away
In harsh cold weather, you need to keep yourself warm. Wear layers of clothing to protect your heart and maintain body’s warmth for a protective insulation. Cover your head with a warm cap or head scarf as the heat can be lost through your head. Hands and feet tend to lose heat, so keep them warm.(Image source:Gettyimages.in)
Say No to Alcohol
Be aware of the dangers of hypothermia. Heart failure causes the most deaths. Don't drink alcoholic beverages before going outdoors or when outside in cold weather as it can put you at risk of heart attack. It gives an initial feeling of warmth, but heat is drawn away from the body's vital organs.(Image source:Gettyimages.in)
Learn Warning Signs and CPR
You need to act fast to prevent a heart attack. You may do it if you have an understanding of warning signs and comprehend what your body is trying to tell you. Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, have it checked by a professional. CPR, when provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest, can significantly improve a victim’s chance of survival.
When you have to Work Outdoors
You need to take it easy when you are working outdoors in cold weather. Take frequent rest breaks to keep the heart from straining. Avoid eating a heavy meal prior to or soon after you have to work as it puts extra load on your heart. When shovelling snow, always use a small shovel. Lifting heavy snow can raise blood pressure acutely during the lift and can make it difficult for them heart to pump. (Image source:Gettyimages.in)