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Heart Care Tips for Cold Weather

By: Claude

The cold weather makes your heart work harder to keep your body warm. Combined with physical activity, this can create circumstances that increase the risk of a heart attack. If not prepared, even walking through snow can put unwanted strain on your heart.

In fact:

  • Every 1.8 degree decrease in the outdoor temperature is associated with 200 additional heart attacks.

  • Cold temperatures increase blood pressure and protein levels, which also increase heart attack risk.

  • 50 percent more heart attacks occur during the winter months than in the summer months.

There are many things you can do to look after your heart in the cold and make shoveling easier, such as: 

  • Use a smaller shovel to avoid lifting heavy amounts of snow and push the snow out of the way instead of lifting it.

  • Wearing a few thin layers can help keep you warmer than one thick layer.

  • Take breaks and pay attention to how your body feels during.

  • If you suffer from angina (chest pain), wear a scarf wrapped loosely around your mouth and nose to breathe in warmer air.

  • Know the warning signs of a heart attack and immediately take action if or someone else is experiencing symptoms.

Knowing when to call 911 can save your heart from severe damage. Call 911 if you notice these heart attack symptoms:

  • Chest Discomfort: pressure, squeezing, burning or pain in the center of the chest.

  • Upper Body Discomfort: discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach

  • Other Signs: Cold sweats, shortness of breath, nausea and lightheadedness

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HealthMinute021220 HeartHealthInTheCold