Cold Weather Increases Risks of Heart Attack and Strokes: Your body makes an effort to stay warm when it’s cold. Your muscles may produce heat by contracting, which explains why you shiver. However, certain physiological reactions to cold can increase your risk of developing cardiac issues.
Additionally, engaging in outdoor exercise or shoveling snow during the winter might strain your heart. Here’s why being outside in the winter can make you more vulnerable to heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular illnesses.
Certain Connections Between Cold Weather and Your Heart
According to a big 2017 Swedish study, heart attacks were more likely on colder days when examining the relationship between various weather conditions and the condition. The heart has to work harder in chilly conditions to keep a person warm. Therefore, the heart may be impacted by cold temperatures and lead to:
- an elevated heart rate
- a rise in blood pressure
- Higher oxygen requirements cause the blood to thicken and increase the risk of blood clotting.
The negative effects of the cold weather may be greater for those who have cardiovascular disorders: elevated blood pressure and rigidity in the arteries. The heart is further taxed by all of these variables, raising the possibility of a heart attack.
Signs of Heart Attack
Knowing the warning signals of a heart attack is crucial. In the event that someone has one, their chances of recovering are higher the sooner they receive assistance. People can experience heart attacks differently; some may feel excruciating pain, while others may simply feel mild discomfort.
If someone believes they could be having heart attack symptoms, they should get medical help right once. An individual can offer assistance until emergency medical services arrive if they are trained in CPR or defibrillation.
How to Reduce Heart Health Risks in Cold Weather?
You don’t have to stay inside all winter if you have high blood pressure or are more likely to have a heart attack. You should not be kept indoors by fear of a heart attack, stroke, or elevated blood pressure caused by the cold, even if you do not already have a cardiac problem.
1. Get warmed up
It’s best to gradually introduce yourself to physical activity, such as shoveling snow or exercising, rather than jumping in headfirst, especially in cold weather.
2. Gather together
Layer clothing underneath a windproof and waterproof outer shell helps maintain body heat. As a lot of heat can escape from your head, wear a hat.
3. Take a Rest
Rome wasn’t created overnight. If you are not dug out within an hour, that’s okay. It is advisable taking regular breaks from shoveling in order to let your muscles—particularly your heart muscle—to relax and unwind.
4. Friend it up
A post-snow clean-up may be the perfect opportunity to call in a favor owed by a buddy, especially if they are under 50 and do not have underlying heart disease.
In order to lessen your workload and make sure you are not alone in an emergency, you might also think about shoveling with a friend.
Understand the Risk Factors
Combining exposure to cold weather with an abrupt increase in exercise can increase the risk of a heart attack. Therefore, it is advised that individuals refrain from performing any abrupt physical activity when it is snowing, such as shoveling snow or taking a walk through thick, wet snow.
Here are some risk factors of heart attacks and heart diseases:
- family history
- high alcohol consumption
- consuming a diet high in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol
- lack of regular exercise
- high blood cholesterol
- high blood pressure
On the other hand, certain risk factors might have a stronger impact than others on how the heart feels during the cold. In colder weather, the two risk variables most likely to cause a heart attack were alcohol use and smoking status. This is because they have a direct impact on vasoconstriction, which raises blood pressure.
Exercise in Cold Weather – Do It Safely
- Even if you don’t feel like going outside during the winter, it is still possible to adhere to those rules.
- “If at all possible, gently exercise your heart,” advises Doran. If the road conditions are good, practicing yoga or swimming indoors at a nearby gym will be beneficial.
- Get exercising in the comfort of your own home if the roads are unsafe for driving or if you just don’t want to pay for a gym membership for a few months.
- However, you can also get exercise for free, which is equivalent to running around the block.
- You can get a great workout from a lot of videos. To stay active, just turn on some music and start dancing. When it’s too chilly to be outside, exercises like lunges, leaping, squats, and stair climbing can assist heart health indoors.
- Even if you’re snowed in or escaping an Arctic blast, try not to go from being a Netflix marathoner to a burpee machine in a single day.
- Start slow and take baby steps if you don’t exercise regularly.
- Even within, overexertion increases the risk of a heart problem.
- You should see a doctor before shoveling snow or beginning any exercise regimen if you are over 50, overweight, or have had a heart attack.
Consult with Us
If winters are getting very hectic on your health, then you must consult with a good doctor to take the required precautions. Here you can consult Dr. Ravinder Singh Rao, who can suggest the best solutions and remedies.