COLD WEATHER AND CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE
Not only can cold weather be nasty. If you are living with a heart disease, cold weather can be a health risk. Its dangers can include hypothermia and heart attack. Therefore, it is important for people living in cold weather areas to take some preventive measures during intense cold. Also for people having cardiovascular disease, precautions are especially important. Many individuals are not conditioned to the physical stress of outdoor activities and do not know the dangers of being outdoors in cold weather. Winter sports fanatics who do not take certain preventive measures can suffer accidental hypothermia (when the body temperature falls below 950F).
Hypothermia takes place when the body can no longer produce enough energy to keep the internal body temperature warm enough. Heart failure causes the majority of deaths in hypothermia. Its symptoms include: mental confusion, lack of coordination, shivering, slowed reactions and sleepiness.
The elderly and children and people with cardiovascular disease are at special risks. This is because they may have restricted ability to or impair mobility communicate. As people age, their ability to maintain a normal internal body temperature often deceases. Older people appear to be somewhat numb to moderately cold environment; they can experience hypothermia without knowledge of being in danger.
The heart requires more oxygen when it is very cold because it is working harder to maintain the body heat. Besides cold temperatures rain, high winds and snow can also lower body heat. Wind in particular is dangerous, because it removes the layer of heated air from around the body, increasing the risk of hypothermia. Likewise, wetness makes the body lose heat very quick than it would under the same temperature in drier conditions.
Cold weather constricts the blood vessels, after which the pressure goes up. Thus in case someone has high blood pressure (HBP), this additional constriction could cause problems. Cold temperature also raises the stress level on the heart wall and makes your blood stickier and thicker, which may cause blood clots to form and block blood flow to the arteries in the heart. During cold weather, there is usually increase in the number of respiratory infections, which can add to respiratory complications and also put additional pressure on the heart, thereby resulting in increased heart attack risk.
To keep warm, endeavour to put on layers of clothing. This ensnares air between layers, creating a protective insulation. Head can be lost through your head. Thus, wear a head scarf or hat. Ears especially are prone to frostbite. Also keep your feet and hands warm, since they have a tendency to lose heat fast.
Never take alcoholic drinks when outside or before going outdoors. Alcohol gives an initial warmth feeling, as blood vessels in the skin expands. Thereafter, heat is drawn from the body’s vital organs. If you have a medical question or concern or you are experiencing symptoms of a medical condition like diabetes or heart disease, before exercising in cold weather, make sure you consult your physician. Fast action can save lives.