Heart Attacks In Winter – Incidences of heart attacks are known to be more common in winter than in summer. Know why.

Heart attacks occurs when blood supply to the heart is suddenly interrupted, mainly due to blockage in one of the heart’s arteries. Atherosclerosis or a buildup of plaque (fatty deposits) inside the arteries can lead to blockage of a blood vessel. When a plaque bursts, a blood clot can form which can block arteries, leading to a heart attack.

It is said that the risk of getting a heart attack is higher in winter or colder months, compared to summer or warmer months. Is this true? If so, what is the reason behind it?

Here, Dr Anbu Pandian, Medical Advisor, Agatsa, answers some of the frequently asked questions about heart attacks in winter as well as shares tips to take care of your heart in the cold weather.

Q. How cold weather affects the heart?

Lower temperatures throughout the winter show a wide range of consequences on the cardiovascular health. The heart strives hard to pump blood throughout the body to keep it warm in the cold weather which induces blood vessels to constrict.

However, those with coronary heart disease (caused by buildup of fatty deposits in the wall of the arteries) are most affected by the colder months as they frequently experience angina pectoris, a sort of pain and discomfort in the chest.

Q. Are heart attacks more common during winters? If so, why?

Yes, it is believed that there’s a surge in heart attacks due to restricted body movement in winters, physiology and drop in temperature. There is greater incidental risk of strokes, heart failure, cardiovascular issues, arrhythmias and disorders in the colder months.

The body’s sympathetic nervous system activation increases during winters that ends up narrowing the blood vessels known as ‘vasoconstriction’ which increases the blood pressure levels and the heart works harder in pumping blood to various organs of the body further posing imminent damage to the heart’s blood vessels.

The increased wind extracts the hot air layer from the body and makes it feel considerably colder than it actually is. A drop in the core body temperature is seen when it is unable to compensate for the lost heat, leaving people prone to hypothermia and frostbite leading to heart failure and possible death.

Q. What can one do to avoid winter heart attacks?

When winter rolls, it’s important to take extra precautions to minimize risks of a heart attack. Keeping in mind these tips can get you covered.

  • Staying warm is the best heart-protection strategy in cold months.
  • Taking frequent breaks when performing strenuous activities like shoveling.
  • Staying hydrated as dehydration increases the heart rate.
  • Recognizing the signs of a heart attack by keeping check on your heart health.

Q. Share some tips to keep out heart healthy in winters.

Inculcate regular monitoring and healthy diet to your daily routine to take a better care of your heart.

Q. Your message for your readers.

Harsh winters or not, the heart needs to be taken care of. Bringing regular monitoring with SanketLife helps in lowering cardiac risks and early detection is the only key to take actions for your heart health timely.

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