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How to Prevent Heart Diseases in Winter

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January 12, 2017 0 21 2 minutes, 34 seconds read
Dr Manoj Kumar - Max Hospital
Director & Unit Head - Cath Lab
Cardiac Sciences, Cardiology

While the winter season and its associated holiday spirit are awaited by most of us, the season also brings with itself a host of health implications especially for those belonging to high risk groups. These groups are primarily the ones suffering from pre-existing lifestyle diseases, young children, women and the elderly.

According to Dr. Manoj Kumar, The number of hospital admissions during this season due to heart attacks, strokes, depression and respiratory ailments are found to drastically rise. The reasons being:

  • The sudden shift from an active and relatively healthier lifestyle during the warmer months to a predominantly sedentary one in the winters as during winters most people prefer to stay indoors. This causes Vitamin D deficiency and associated depression.
  • People also tend to indulge in food items high in trans-fat, sugar and salt which increases the risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
  • The incidence of asthma also increases as the temperature dips. Christmas, new years’ celebrations and on-going wedding season also brings about a drastic rise in the amount of alcohol consumed by people causing further complications.

It is thus essential that people must be made aware about the important prevention measures and warning signs to ensure good health.

Do heart attacks occur in the Morning or Evening?

Studies show that most heart attacks occur during the winter months and that too early in the morning. The reason being that extremely cold temperatures narrow the heart arteries thus restricting the oxygen and blood flow to the heart. This in turn increases the blood pressure of patients. The sudden dip in temperature also enhances the risks of blood clot formation. Research shows that unlike other seasons the chances of getting angina and heart attacks during winters is 50% more.

What all precautions to take to remain heart healthy this winter?

  • Indulge in physical activities like jogging, brisk walking, and yoga. These activities help in lowering high blood pressure and reduce the risks of a heart attack. Heart patients should avoid going out early in the morning and late at night when the temperatures are extremely low. Instead they should get out during the afternoon when the sun is out.
  • It is essential to keep a note of one’s blood pressure and approach the family doctor in case major fluctuations are recorded.
  • Smoking and alcohol consumption in excess should be avoided. Alcohol has a toxic effect on the heart muscles. It can lead to atrial fibrillation -- an abnormal heart rhythm. Smoking can aggravate heart problems, respiratory ailments and cause high blood pressure.
  • Abstain from consuming high-calorie winter delights. Instead one should consume ample amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables. Keep your body free of unhealthy toxins by drinking plenty of water.
  • One should restrict their social engagements since late hours spent partying each night can pressurize one’s already weak heart.
  • Any unusual symptoms like sweating, discomfort in the chest, pain in the jaw and shoulders, pain in neck and arms and shortness of breath should not be ignored. If any such symptoms are noticed, you must consult your physician at once.

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