Heart Failure: Risk in winter
The heart is the most important part of our body. From birth, it works non-stop. The risk of heart attack is higher in winter. Generally, the cases of cold and flu increase during the winter, while the risk of heart attack is highest during this season. Sudden deaths by heart failure increase very rapidly at the onset of winter.
Heart failure signs and symptoms may include:
• Shortness of breath with activity or when lying down.
• Fatigue and weakness.
• Swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet.
• Rapid or irregular heartbeat.
• Reduced ability to exercise.
• Persistent cough or wheezing with white or pink blood-tinged mucus.
• Swelling of the belly area (abdomen)
Why does the risk of heart attack increase in winter?
Cases of heart attack are seen more in the winter months, which is twice as high as during the summers. The reason for the higher incidence of heart attacks is that the body's sympathetic nervous system activation increases which end up narrowing the blood vessels also referred to as 'vasoconstriction'. When this happens, the blood pressure levels increase and the heart works harder in pumping blood to different parts of the body. Further, during the colder months, the temperatures can pose difficulty in maintaining body heat and cause hypothermia, which can cause difficult damage to the heart's blood vessels.
Causes of heart failure:
It is known that blood pressure has an inverse relation to environmental temperature. The cold-induced narrowing of heart blood vessels leads to less supply to the heart muscle thereby making the heart work harder to pump the same amount of blood. This condition is most common in people whose arteries are already constricted. Heart attacks are most likely to occur in the morning when the temperature is lowest.
Any impracticable exercise can put a strain on the heart, triggering a heart attack. But some bad lifestyle habits cause immense damage to the cardiovascular system.
According to Best Heart Specialist in Gurgaon, Heart attacks need precarious care at any age. With a higher risk during the winters and pollution levels, it's all the more important to follow the right approach, stay on the right track of health and keep heart diseases at bay. Here are a few ways to keep your heart functioning fine:
- It is advisable to withhold strenuous exercise during winter mornings.
- One should wear warm clothing to protect oneself from the cold wave. More layers of clothing during the winter trap the air and form protective insulation.
- Covering the head and ear is beneficial as much of the body’s heat is lost from here, making the body vulnerable to cold injury.
- Take a healthy diet and maintain proper fluid intake.
- People who have multiple risk factors for heart disease should first consult their cardiologist for optimization of treatment.