Cold Weather and Your Heart

Cold Weather and Your Heart

For children, the elderly and people with known heart disease the risk is particularly high, but even the most active winter sports enthusiast can quickly slip into hypothermia or even have a heart attack if he or she isn’t careful.
FMH - Cold weather puts added stress on your heart. Simply put, your heart has to work harder to keep your internal temperature steady when outside temperatures take a nose dive.

For children, the elderly and people with known heart disease the risk is particularly high, but even the most active winter sports enthusiast can quickly slip into hypothermia or even have a heart attack if he or she isn’t careful.

Even if it isn’t frigid outside, wind, snow and even rain can steal your body heat. If it’s 30 degrees outside with a 30 mile-per-hour wind, the cooling effect is equal to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. If you get wet in the snow or rain, your body will lose heat faster than if you were dry.

When you’re heading out into the cold, be sure to wear a hat to reduce the heat loss from your head and bundle up with layers of clothing. Air gets trapped between each layer, forming a protective insulation. Pay special attention to your hands and feet, they’ll lose heat more rapidly than other areas of your body.

If When we eventually get some shovel-worthy snow, remember to tackle the task safely. If you’re not used to strenuous physical activity (like lifting huge chunks of snow and throwing them 10 feet) take it easy. Keep each shovel full small and take breaks when you feel tired.

While you’re out and about this winter, keep the following symptoms in mind. If you think you’re suffering from hypothermia or having a heart attack, dial 911 immediately.

Heart Attack Symptoms:

  • Chest Pain/Discomfort – this is a classic symptom of a heart attack, but people experience it in different ways. The pain might be consistent or come and go, and it can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, or acute pain.
  • Other Upper Body Discomfort – pain can be in one or both arms, your back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Cold Sweat
  • Nausea or Lightheadedness

Hypothermia Symptoms:

  • Exhaustion or Drowsiness
  • Shivering
  • Confusion
  • Memory Loss
  • Slurred Speech
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