Heart health: Tips to prevent heart attack during early morning walk in winters | Health - Hindustan Times

Heart health: Tips to prevent heart attack during early morning walk in winters

By, New Delhi
Dec 27, 2022 03:19 PM IST

Early morning chill can play havoc with your heart health, especially if one exercises without a warm-up or does not wear appropriate clothing. Here are tips from cardiologists on how to prevent early morning heart attacks.

According to researchers most heart attacks happen during early hours of morning from 4am to 10am as there is an increase in secretion of certain hormones like epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol, that may trigger increase in oxygen demand and blood pressure. Also decreased levels of endothelial progenitor cells can also increase chances of heart attack. Winter mornings can further aggravate the risk of heart attack as the morning chill can affect cardiac health of high-risk people meaning those who have hypertension, diabetes or lung issues. Experts say that these people should avoid morning workouts or walks in early hours and even if they go for walks in the morning, they should cover their ears, chest, legs and head well. (Also read: Man dies of heart attack watching Avatar 2, cardiologists on what could have gone wrong)

Heart attacks happen during early hours of waking and during winter season because of cold weather. (Pixabay)
Heart attacks happen during early hours of waking and during winter season because of cold weather. (Pixabay)

"We all know that heart attacks happen during early hours of waking and during winter season because of cold weather. It also further aggravates risk of heart attack. All those people who are high risk which means who have family history of heart disease, have high blood pressure, those who are diabetic and those who have some other lung problem, it is not advisable that they go for early morning winter walks (or workouts)," says Dr Udgeath Dhir, Director and Head of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery (CTVS), Fortis Memorial Research Institute in a telephonic conversation with HT Digital.


"During winters the body is already trying to increase metabolism for conserving body heat, already the body is in hyperactive moment. If at all we have to go for early morning walks, we have to protect us from early morning cold. We need to cover our extremities which means the head, the ears, the hands, and our toes. Your chest area should be warm enough and never start exercise without a warm-up. Warm up is most important and it is more crucial during winter season. If we aren't exercising without proper warm up and those who are at high risk can have heart attack and strokes in winter," says Dr Dhir.

“Winter mornings increase the risk of cardiovascular conditions. Blood pressure is inversely proportional to winter. Chilly weather increases the pressure and as a result, our heart beats faster and even more blood is required to pump which is not favourable to someone with a weak heart. We cannot do anything about the climate, so taking precautions is the best way to tackle the problem," says Dr. Manjinder Sandhu, Vice Chairman, Cardiology, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram.


"In present scenario when there is pollution plus winter so there is smog. These are not good for lungs and heart. The air we breathe it is extra load on lungs and lungs are attached to heart, so it is extra load for heart. This can pose problem for patients who have lung issues like asthma, chronic bronchitis, smokers and certain sensitive people and in turn can lead to some heart dysfunction. These people can avoid early morning walks in winter," says Dr Dhir.


"Ideal time is not early morning and late evenings. Exercise is important for us. But we have to take the maximum benefit out of those exercise. Elderly and high-risk people should avoid early morning walk. Once there is a little sun outside, they can go for a walk or evening time. Warm-up, covering extremities, check your blood pressure, or blood sugar level are some of the points to be considered before venturing out. Try to be stress-free. That's most important," says Dr Dhir.


Below are the precautions listed by Dr Sandhu

- Regularly check your blood pressure and get in touch with the nearest healthcare provider as soon as any symptoms are witnessed.

- Stay warm and avoid stepping out in extremely low temperatures, especially early morning walks are a big no.

- Maintain regular indoor physical activities and a healthy diet that further helps you maintain your blood pressure or deal with any issues in winter.

- Do not exert yourself too much. It can result in heart attacks, heart failure, and fatal outcomes.

- Avoid fatty, fried, sweet foods with high cholesterol levels.

- If you have any existing medical conditions, keep a close watch and maintain any treatment or medication.

- Avoid OTC pills and any self-treatment habit.

- Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption.

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