January 21: Is Your Heart Ready for Cold Weather? with Rose Melendez
As our region is experiencing the coldest air it has seen this season and perhaps snow is on the way, it’s important to think about how this winter weather can affect your heart. Colder temperatures combined with physical activity create specific circumstances that increase the risk of a heart attack. If not prepared, even walking through snow can put unwanted strain on your heart.
If you are planning on shoveling snow, keep in mind there are many ways to make snow removal safer: Take breaks while shoveling and pay attention to how your body feels during your breaks. Treat shoveling like somewhat of a workout, and avoid eating a large meal prior to shoveling (a small snack is ok). Use a smaller shovel to avoid lifting heavy amounts of snow and push the snow out of the way instead of lifting it. Dress warmly to avoid hypothermia and drink plenty of water! Lastly, know the warning signs of a heart attack and what action to take if you or someone else is experiencing symptoms.
Did You Know?
- Every 1.8 degree decrease in outside temperature is associated with 200 additional heart attacks.
- Cold temperatures increase blood pressure and protein levels, which also increase heart attack risk.
- 50% more heart attacks occur during the winter months than in the summer months.
Symptoms of a Heart Attack
- Chest Discomfort: pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center of the chest
- Upper body discomfort: discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach
- Shortness of breath
- Other signs: these may include cold sweats, nausea, and lightheadedness
If you experience any of these signs, don’t wait; call 9-1-1 immediately. Both Adventist HeathCare Washington Adventist Hospital and Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center are accredited Chest Pain Centers, recognized for their excellence in the treatment of heart attack by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care.
To learn if your heart is up to task, take a free online heart risk assessment atwww.TrustedHeartCare.com