Cold weather and heart disease
Cold weather and Heart disease has a close connection. In a cold weather our body’s blood vessels constrict to maintain homeostasis state in our body. This narrowing of blood vessels in response to the cold weather is called “vasoconstriction”.
Blood vessels of skin shrink to reduce blood flow, which helps to minimize heat loss from the body to maintain body’s normal temperature.
Reduced blood flow also reduces oxygen supply to the body cells which increases heart patient’s angina. Heart has to work harder to supply blood and oxygen to the constricted blood vessels, Due to which heart rate and blood pressure increases.
High blood pressure is a primary cause of a heart attack. Winters increases coronary artery disease problem and also increases the risk of a “Heart-Attack”.
Precaution to take for heart patients in cold weather
- Walking time – Environmental temperature remains low in the morning and in late evening hours in winters so heart patient may feel uneasiness while stepping at this time.
Do start your morning walk in sun shine, when sun rises then step out for your morning walk. Do finish your evening walk before sun sets. Avoid stepping out in early morning and late evening hours
- Wear warm cloth at home and while stepping out – Whenever you step out keep yourself covered with warm cloths properly, Wear woollen head caps, woollen gloves, woollen socks, shoes and woollen coat, sweaters, jercy etc.
- Food / Diet – Have plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables, avoid oil / ghee and fatty foods, have oil free diet, Have soups, salad, vegetables.
Avoid curd, butter milk and other cold beverages in dinner. Have light diet in dinner and finish your dinner by 8 in the evening.
- Bath with Luke warm water – Use Luke warm water for bathing. Have a bath after sun rises.
- Have Proper sleep – Go to sleep early by 10 pm and rise after 7 pm. Have a proper sleep of 8 to 9 hours.
- Keep a watch on your Cholesterol and Triglyceride level – Cholesterol and Triglyceride are the main molecules that forms heart blockages. It usually happens that heart patient’s cholesterol and triglyceride increases due to eating negligence. So do check your cholesterol and triglyceride on a monthly basis.
- Check your HBA1c – In winters it usually happens that we eat sugar rich foods, check your sugar level and keep a watch on it, as high level of blood sugar is again risk factor of heart disease.
- Keep a watch on your weight – In winters due to food habits our weight usually increases, do keep your weight under control.
- Have a sun bath – Sit at a place where proper sun light comes for at least 30 minutes every day.
- Do Yoga and Meditation – There are specific yoga and meditation exercises for heart patients. Do them as advised by your yoga instructor.
- Take all your medications on time – Timing of medicines are very important for heart patients. Take them on time
- Remain in touch with your doctor – Be in touch with your doctor and follow all the instruction as advised by your doctor.
- Be happy and be healthy
Written by: Dr. Chetan Sharma
EECP Specialist, Heart & Lifestyle Expert
Supported by Mr. Abhijeet Gautam