"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Increase in cardiac deaths in winter weather

January 2, 2024 – The holidays are a time of togetherness and cheer, celebration and joy. But also they are a time of plenty. Excessive fattening foods, alcohol, stress and other unhealthy things can damage your heart and blood vessels. As a result, the variety of heart attacks and strokes increases dramatically within the winter, and as fewer people seek the medical care they need, the variety of cardiac deaths also increases.

Research shows that the variety of cardiac deaths increased by almost 5% from December twenty fifth to January seventh.

For those that are already at higher risk of a cardiovascular event akin to a heart attack or stroke, the stress brought on by the vacations can push the situation to a critical point, he said Laxmi Mehta, MD, a cardiologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Some of it is sweet stress, like the joy of seeing family and friends. Other things like financial stress, travel, and a full to-do list are bad stressors – but all of them affect heart health. Even minor stress can have an influence since it increases inflammation within the body, which is linked to higher blood pressure and lower good HDL cholesterol.

“We are less vigilant during the holidays when it comes to protecting the heart, eating less healthily and drinking too much alcohol,” Mehta said.

Too much alcohol is especially dangerous because it may cause what’s referred to as “holiday heart syndrome.” Cardiac arrhythmiasor an irregular heartbeat, which may be brought on by binge drinking. Alcohol combined with foods that contain an excessive amount of sodium and sugar puts strain on the center and in some cases can result in a stroke. When we drink an excessive amount of, we’re also more prone to smoke, which reduces blood flow to the center and increases the chance of a cardiovascular event.

“We are all human and not perfect, but moderation in food and especially alcohol can go a long way in reducing your risk,” Mehta said.

Staying awake late at night also means not getting enough sleep. Unusual sleeping arrangements during family visits can result in failure to shut one's eyes, which may be fatal for heart patients, he said Johanna ContrerasMD, cardiologist at Mount Sinai Hospital System.

People who sleep lower than 6 hours can experience a pointy increase in blood pressure, and for patients with hypertension this may be crucial. Plan ahead so alcohol, late nights, and travel don't affect your sleep. “Good sleep is so important for heart patients, and when we don't sleep, we're also more likely to overindulge the next day,” he said Contreras.

Choose healthier foods that contain loads of fresh fruit and veggies as an alternative of canned foods that contain an excessive amount of sodium. Use an air fryer as an alternative of indulging in fried foods, which also contain an excessive amount of sodium and saturated fats. Diabetes patients should plan ahead and know what they need to eat. People with diabetes are at increased risk of overindulging because excessively high blood sugar can damage artery partitions and increase the chance of a heart attack, the study found CDC.

Sticking to your winter exercise schedule can also be essential to scale back your risk aspects. It could also be different, but you must still attempt to be energetic. Take walks, play basketball or touch football with the youngsters, or go jogging. If you might be outdoors in cold weather, be sure you stay warm because when temperatures drop, blood vessels constrict, causing blood pressure to rise and blood pressure to fall Traffic and puts additional strain on the center, he said Health and performance coach James Cunningham.

Wearing multiple layers of clothing is crucial to retain heat and supply a protective layer of insulation against the weather. Your head, fingers and face must also be covered as they have a tendency to lose heat quickly. “Clothing layering is key. Start with a wicking base layer to wick sweat away from your skin, and add an insulating midlayer like fleece, as well as a thin waterproof layer,” says Cunningham.

Warming up properly can also be essential, as sudden exertion can put strain on the center. Cold weather may cause this Coronary arteries cause spasmscalled Vasospasmespecially in patients with hypertension or high cholesterol.

“For example, when you shovel snow, your heart rate may increase, which can put additional strain on the heart,” Mehta said. “All of these together contribute to cardiac events in cold weather.”

Most importantly, if you may have symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately. Symptoms of a heart attack include pain or discomfort over the chest; dizziness; nausea; Vomit; jaw, neck or back pain; and shortness of breath. Symptoms of a stroke include numbness of the face, arm, or leg, confusion, difficulty speaking, vision problems, instability, dizziness, or severe headaches.

If doctors can destroy a blood clot with a blood thinner inside the first three hours, they’ll prevent damage to the brain or heart. But when a clot worsens, all of the tissue around it dies since it is cut off from blood flow and oxygen, causing brain damage in stroke patients and heart failure in heart attack patients, Contreras said.

To know CPR with hands onlyReminding other members of the family to do the identical is crucial to saving lives during a heart attack. When symptoms appear, the clock is ticking. Doctors can do lots to stop future damage, but only for those who seek assist in a timely manner.