by Marshaneil S D'Rozario
The onset of winter has ushered a rise in heart-related diseases, such as heart attack and cardiac failures, even death. Frequent health checkups for elders and other preventive measures can reduce the risk, says Dr. Ramesh Gudapati, Chief of Cardiology at Star Hospitals
Q1. Is it true, that heart attack risks rises in winter?
Heart problems tend to increase by 30- 40% in winter compared to the month of summer. There is a constant risk of heart attacks of about 2%, with every mercury dip of 1-degree centigrade in temperature.
Q2. What are the major reasons behind the increase of heart problems?
1. During winter, there are more constrictions of blood vessels including coronary arteries which supply blood to heart muscle.
2. There is increase in blood viscosity (thickness) and blood clotting tendency in cold weather.
3. Winter can increase the heart and blood pressure rates leading to heart attack.
Blood cholesterol and blood pressure increases due to low temperatures results in heart ailment.
Q3. Can lifestyles also affect the heart condition in winter?
1. Excessive smoking and consumption of alcohol in winters can enhance chances of heart attack.
2. A lot of people stop exercising due to extreme temperatures can increase the sugar levels for those suffering from diabetes.
Q4. Can environmental changes lead to heart diseases?
In India, major cities are under the cover of smoke and pollution. Which tend to rise in winters, as seen in Delhi recently. These factors lead to blockages in blood vessels supplying the heart resulting in heart attack. Respiratory infections in winter can create additional stress or worsen the heart problem.
Q5. What are the preventive measures to reduce the risk of heart ailments in cool temperatures?
1. People with a previous history of heart diseases and older people should take more care of themselves
2. While going out in winter one should wear proper clothing to keep themselves warm in harsh weather.
3. One should not stop exercise as per their convenience. They can change the schedule to a more convenient time of the day.
4. A complete health check-up is required, primarily the BP, sugar, cholesterol and heart checkups.
5. Respiratory infections can be prevented with the use of Influenza and pneumococcal vaccines.
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