Cardiac Care in winters
When we say that India is diverse, we not only refer to the people and culture but also the seasons. The winters, for instance, can be harsh in some states, while in other places, they may be comparatively warmer. Winters usually start in the month of November and last up to March. Besides the common cold and flu, the winters bring several possible threats to heart patients, which may even turn fatal.
In winter, your heart has to work twice as hard to pump oxygen throughout the body to keep you warm while the cold temperature causes the arteries to constrict, thus restricting the flow of blood and reducing the supply of oxygen to the heart muscles. Due to this, the chances of developing blood clots and having a stroke or heart attacks are higher during winter.
Winters and your Cardiovascular health
The heart, along with the network of blood vessels, is responsible for circulating blood throughout the body. Healthy circulation of blood depends on a variety of different factors, all of which predominantly focus on the normal functioning of the circulatory system. This includes an active lifestyle, healthy eating habits and much more. During winter, we tend to follow a sedentary lifestyle, wrapped up in a blanket, munching on our favourite snacks. People even stop going out for walks or working out and it is the cold that is to be blamed for it all. Naturally, these unhealthy habits that last throughout winter have a negative impact on our hearts.
Here are three more ways in which winters can put your heart at risk
- Narrowing of the blood vessels - As surprising as it may seem, winter does lead to the temporary shrinking of the blood vessels in your body. This restricts the flow of blood, thereby making it difficult for your heart to get enough blood. The problem can prove to be quite challenging for people who have an existing blockage or obstruction in their vessels.
- Elevated blood pressure levels - As your blood vessels become narrow it reduces blood circulation, the heart has to work harder to ensure every part of your body is getting enough blood. This leads to an additional strain on your arterial walls, causing your blood pressure to spike up.
- Higher pulse rate - Did you know that our heart tends to beat faster during winter? As there is a drop in the temperature and your body is cold, your heart rate increases to keep it warm. This happens due to your body’s natural coping mechanism. This additional strain can have a negative impact on your heart in the long run.
Keeping your heart safe in winter:
Here are some tips that can help to protect your heart in winter.
- Layer up for the season - It is important to keep yourself warm by dressing comfortably and by layering up with sweaters and jackets. Do not forget to wear socks, caps, gloves and a muffler.
- Stay hydrated - Think it’s important to stay hydrated only in summer? You are wrong. It is equally important to do so in winter as cold can lead to dehydration too. So, make sure you are drinking 8 glasses of water every day
- Eat light - Most people tend to follow a sedentary lifestyle in winter and as such, it is important to make sure that you refrain from consuming unhealthy foods. This will not only lead to weight gain but also elevate the risks of various cardiac problems.
- Avoid going out unnecessarily - Switching between indoors and outdoors exposes your body to frequent temperature changes that could be quite stressful to adapt to. You should rather stay indoors and refrain from stepping out unnecessarily.
- Work-out at home - Staying physically active does not necessarily mean that you have to go out. You can perform some simple exercises at home to keep your heart beating healthily. Start with stretching and follow up with yoga or aerobics.
- Stay in touch with your doctor - Whether you have an existing heart condition or, are completely healthy otherwise, it is important to go for regular heart check-ups. This will not only help to keep a track of your heart health, but also make it possible to detect any heart problem at the earliest.
To know more about cardiac care in winter, connect with our experts!
Dr. D.K. Jhamb, Director & Head of the Department
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