Having a Heart Healthy Holiday

Having a Heart Healthy Holiday

During winter months, negative or close to zero temperatures can lead to health risks including worsening of possible cardiovascular risks. The cold weather places additional stress on the body such as increasing heart rate to manage strong temperature fluctuations, specifically preventing the body from cooling.  These strong temperature fluctuations are unfavorable for hearth health.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Avoid going outside without dressing properly, since the cold can trigger the aforementioned symptoms. It is important to choose appropriate clothing for both the climate and the activities.
  • Wear waterproof boots.
  • If at all possible, stay home on days of extreme cold or wind.
  • Despite common misconceptions, alcohol does not increase body temperature.
  • A little known fact is that the nicotine contained in tobacco facilitates cardiac spasms.
  • Vaccinate against the flu.
  • Follow a proper diet, regardless of whether a pathology such as hypertension or diabetes is currently present and even if cardiovascular disease is not present.

Cardiovascular disease has many contributing factors and if you have multiple risk factors it can enhance the detrimental effects on the body when compared to only having one risk factor. Good nutrition can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing as many risk factors as possible. Lifestyle changes in nutrition choices have a very significant impact on reducing cardiovascular risk factors.

Tips for taking care of your heart in winter

  • Cover well, paying special attention to the extremities and the head (especially bald men who have an increased risk of heart attack) to avoid vasoconstrictor phenomena.
  • Avoid intense efforts without first warming up.
  • In winter, the least physical activity requires a major effort to the heart, so walking in the cold would be equivalent to running 100 meters.
  • Limit activities in the event of peak pollution associated with very low temperatures: micro particles and Nitric Oxide increase the risk of infarction.
  • Pay attention to the slightest symptom including a feeling of tightness in the chest, palpitation, shortness of breath or chest pain on exertion and vertigo. If you feel uncomfortable, consult without delay.

The most vulnerable people

Those most vulnerable are those who suffer from a cardio-cerebrovascular pathology such as arterial hypertension , heart failure, a history of myocardial infarction, stroke, angina pectoris, revascularization coronary or arterial (stent, bypass), or heart valve disease. Those who suffer from heart rhythm disorders are also at higher risk. People over the age of 70 must be supervised because after a certain age, the body’s ability to adapt to temperature variations decreases. This applies to both negative temperatures and day-to-day temperature variations. You should also know that the wind increases the feeling of cold and its harmful effects on health.

We recommend consulting with your primary care physician or cardiologist at the onset of any symptom or sensation that someone with known cardiovascular disease may perceive as out of the ordinary.

When in doubt, call 911 – That’s what we’re here for.