Heart Specialist Explains the Increased Risk of Heart Attack During the Winter Season
Published On Nov 16, 2020
Heart attacks are caused when there is a blockage in the heart, leading to obstruction in blood flow towards the heart. The main reasons for this blockage can be a build-up of fat or cholesterol, which causes the formation of a plaque in the arteries, which transport blood out of the heart and into various parts of the human body. This plaque can lead to the formation of a clot that would cause the blockage, which would lead to the person getting a heart attack.
The symptoms of a heart attack can easily be noticed. They include tightness in the chest, arms, and back and sometimes abnormal heart rhythms and anxiety. Women, on the other hand, display atypical symptoms upon the arrival of a heart attack. There are several treatments possible for a heart attack, some of them are complex, like stents and bypass surgery, and some are simpler – lifestyle changes, medication, and cardiac rehabilitation.
There are many risk factors for patients with existing heart conditions or have previously had a heart attack. During the winter season, the risk is greatly increased. The main risk would be biological, i.e., the cold. The blood vessels are prone to contraction due to the cold. This contraction can lead to raised blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Coronary heart disease can worsen and lead to Angina or chest pain in cold temperatures as the coronary arteries constrict in the cold weather.
Signs During Heart Attack
The risk of certain types of heart attacks is higher in the winter season. Humidity, barometer pressure, wind, cold temperatures, etc., increase the risk of cardiovascular problems and complicate health issues. The nervous system is also affected due to the decrease in temperature. Thickening of blood and narrowing of blood vessels are followed. The following would be the signs to be noticed as the person exhibits them during a heart attack:
- Nausea and light-headedness
- Unable to catch a breath
- Chest pain
- Aching or squeezing sensation in the chest
- Pain in both arms, back, neck, stomach
Connection Between Heart Attack and Winters
The exact connection between the winter season and heart attacks has not been conclusively determined. However, the theories used to explain this are- Hypothermia is more likely, leading to muscle contraction, biological and physiological changes in the body, Seasonal affective disorder, restricted blood flow, and poor oxygen supply to the heart few of the possible explanations.
Snow, high winds, and rain can also steal body heat. Winds take away a layer of heated air from a person’s surroundings, thereby making the surrounding cold and dangerous. Dampness or moisture presence also leads to loss of heat from the body as it would in drier conditions at the same temperature.
People with pre-existing heart conditions should take good care of themselves as a great risk is posed to their health. They should have dedicated cardiac health insurance due to the added risk. Individuals can safeguard themselves against it by checking if they have any of the symptoms mentioned. They can also protect themselves by keeping themselves warm by wearing layers of clothing that traps air between layers, forming a protective insulation. Wearing a hat and scarf also helps. Keeping ears covered is important as ears are prone to frostbite. Hands along with feet should be kept warm as well.
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Disclaimer: This article is issued in the general public interest and meant for general information purposes only. Readers are advised not to rely on the contents of the article as conclusive in nature and should research further or consult an expert in this regard.