Peak summer increases risk of heart attack

Peak summer increases risk of heart attack

Heat waves are usually associated with heat stroke, dehydration and skin diseases. But doctors in the capital warn people against high risk of heart attack in peak summer.


Hot weather not only increases the risk of heart attack in people with risk factors but also heat-related disorders such as heat cramps, exhaustion and stroke. The risk increases when the weather is hot and humid, which makes people sweat all the more, said Dr Purshottam Lal, cardiologist, Metro Heart Institute. 

Heat is a two-edged sword for heart patients as environmental heat puts stress on the heart. 

The body needs to sweat to maintain its normal temperature. This tires the cardiovascular system, resulting in extra pressure on the heart. Also, patients with heart disease are prone to developing potentially dangerous heat illness, a case that is particularly true for the elderly.

“Heart patients, who have been prescribed medicines to lower heart attack risk, to rid body of excess water and to treat various heart troubles like abnormal heart rhythms and chest pain, should stay in cool environment as far as possible,” said Dr Lal.

“They should drink up to eight glasses of water a day. People over 65 years are at high risk as their body tends to retain less water,” said Dr Lal.

Heart attacks are common in extreme conditions — very cold and very hot temperatures. The frequency of heart attack increases in winter, drops in spring and rise again in extreme summer.

“In summer, heart attacks increase due to high levels of dehydration. Still, a maximum number of heart attacks happen in winter due to coronary artery spasm, a temporary, sudden narrowing of one of the arteries,” said Dr K K Aggarwal, president, Heart Care Foundation of India.

He said over 24 lakh people die in India every year due of heart failure. The average age of the population dying of heart attack in India is 10 years younger than in the US.


* Stay in cool environment as much as possible

* Drink up to eight glasses of water a day
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