Chances of heart attacks rise as temperature dips

Doctors sound alert for patients ahead of New Year

With a dip in temperature in the capital and Christmas round the corner, doctors sounded an alert for people to take extra care of their hearts to prevent

There is a tendency among people to ignore chest pain amid festivities even though chances of heart attacks increase during the winter, said cardiologists.

Increased blood pressure and pulse rate are common in this season, said doctors.

The days after Christmas and new year especially see high number of heart attacks as people with even poor heart conditions indulge in smoking, drinking and oily food.

“We commonly call it Christmas Coronaries or Holidays Coronaries. People avoid seeing the doctor during the festive season. So the symptoms of heart attack go unnoticed. The highest number of heart attacks are often reported on December 26 and January 1 after people party ignoring symptoms of the attack,” said Dr K K Aggarwal, cardiologist and president, Heart Care Foundation.

“The arteries get constricted. The blood pressure generally increases by five mm. We always recommend that heart patients visit doctors once the winter sets in. Usually, experts prescribe a high dosage of medicines for the increased blood pressure. One should also not forget to take the daily dose of aspirin. Heart patients should also take a flu vaccine,” said Dr Aggarwal.

Blood pressure

While the maximum blood pressure increases during dry winter, the minimum increases during wet winter, said doctors.

Even though it is necessary for the elderly to take extra protection to prevent heart attacks in winter, all age groups are vulnerable to attacks, said experts.
Experts advised that people should follow their daily regime of exercise and not indulge in sleeping till late, another common tendency observed during this season.
But morning walks should ideally be postponed as exposure to early morning cold can  trigger heart attacks.

“Our team has seen more cases of cardiovascular diseases in winters as compared to summers”, says Dr Ashok Seth, chairperson, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute.

“Certain activities more commonly performed during cold weather might also contribute to the risk. This is not only attributed to physical exertion but also due to dropping temperatures,” said Dr Seth.

Lack of exposure to sunlight can also aggravate chances of an attack, he added.

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