The cold weather in winter can lead to cardiac problems which could be deadly, particularly for those who are already suffering from a heart condition. It has been observed that there is a spike in the number of cases in heart attacks during winter season.
The dip in the temperature restricts the arteries, which in turn leads to decreasing blood flow and oxygen supply to the heart. And since the heart is already working harder to pump blood through the body to maintain body heat, the stress can elevate the risk of a heart attack. Factors like drop in body temperature, decreased level of vitamin D in the body and an increase of blood viscosity can amplify the risk of cardio-vascular diseases during this season.
At Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, we are receiving three new patients every day in the last few weeks. We have also seen an increase in the number of cases reported on heart failure, especially at night. In the last two weeks, we saw five new cases coming in at night for cardiac arrest. Out of the five cases, only two patients survived as they sought immediate medical assistance and did not wait for the morning. People who generally wait till morning to visit the hospital delay the medical assistance and in turn, increase the risks involved. So, not only are we more susceptible to heart attacks in January, but there is also a higher incidence of heart attacks between 11pm at night to 4am in the morning,” explained by Dr Viveka Kumar, Director of Cath Lab, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket.
The cold weather can create threatening factors for heart attacks, especially for people who are above the age of 50 or have had a history of heart problems, diabetes and hypertension. Additionally, the risk of heart failure in existing cardiac patients is comparatively 4-5 times more during winters. The usual symptoms that are ignored during winters are—unusual gastric problems, profuse sweating, and any pain that lasts for more than 15 minutes. In case of such symptoms, immediately rush to the hospital.
Awareness and knowledge is the key to prevention. With suitable preparation, we can take substantial steps to prevent silent heart attacks and protect our health.
According to Dr Kumar, the risk of heart attacks can be reduced by following these recommendations:
1. Avoid eating a big or heavy meal, alcohol, junk food, and smoking. Without any physical activity or exercise, these factors can lead to high blood pressure.
2. Physical activity is extremely crucial, and should be followed at least 6 times a week.
3. If you do experience chest discomfort, seek medical attention immediately.
4. Regular health check-up during winters is imperative. Additionally, blood pressure (BP), sugar levels, cholesterol and other risk factors should be monitored.
5. Pay attention to the weather and prepare accordingly. Dress warmly, particularly in windy weather, to retain body heat while outside in the cold.
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