Heart Health in Winters

By Dr. Viveka Kumar in Cardiac Sciences

Jan 10 , 2023 | 1 min read

Winter season is loved by everyone, but a drop in temperature can impact our health and especially our heart. Heart attacks, Stroke, Bronchitis, Accelerated Hypertension, etc., are more common during winters that negatively affect our hearts.

Cold weather increases the risk of lower respiratory tract infections, mainly viral, exacerbation of asthma, constriction of blood vessels (mainly due to a decrease in temperature and sympathetic nervous system activation) leading to heart attacks, arrhythmiasstroke and precipitation of heart failure symptoms in patients with prior cardiac diseases. Angina or chest pain also worsens during winter due to coronary arteries constriction. In the cold, our heart works harder to keep our body warm, and winters make it difficult as heat dissipates quickly.

Decreased physical activity due to a cold environment, increase in calorie and alcohol consumption, and increased smoking also contributes to deranged blood cholesterol, increased blood pressure, and more heart attacks during winters.

Air pollution and the deteriorating air quality index (AQI) add to the increased risk of cardiovascular diseases in winters. The global burden of disease study estimates that air pollution was responsible for 9 million deaths worldwide, 62% of which were due to cardiovascular diseases, including ischaemic heart disease (32%) and stroke (28%). Particulate matter (PM) is the most thoroughly studied component of air pollution. PM2.5 (Particles less than 2.5 microns) is strongly associated with an increased risk of heart attack, strokes, and death from heart diseases.

Preventive Measures for Heart Problems in Winter

  • Keep yourself warm and cover yourself with adequate clothes. The use of warmers and heaters to keep oneself warm is also recommended.

  • Stay active physically, not necessarily outdoors, but through indoor activities like yoga, meditation, and dancing.

  • Eat healthy food in winter. Avoid junk food, sweets, and food high in cholesterol.

  • Keep a close watch on blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol. Do not miss taking your cardiac medicines already prescribed.

  • Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

  • Eat warm food to keep your body warm.

  • If you are already a cardiac patient, stay indoors on cold days.

  • Avoid the use of gas stoves, fireplaces, and other sources of household air pollution, use N95 masks while moving in crowded places, choose less congested commutes, and avoid travel to heavily polluted regions.

Related Video