Health Care

Why Heart Attacks Are More Common In Winter Season?

Heart attacks are more common in Winter, Heart attacks are one of the leading causes of death these days, with numerous cases reported among people in their twenties, thirties, and forties. While there are many pressing risk factors that increase one’s risk of having a heart attack, such as ignoring symptoms, seasonal changes can also wreak havoc on heart.

While many people prefer winter, it is also the season in which the majority of heart attacks occur. Yes, not only respiratory illnesses and viral influx can be a source of concern during the winter and the sudden drop in temperatures.

As a result, while sudden heart attacks and illnesses necessitate immediate attention, winters are also a time to be extra cautious than usual.

Why Heart Attacks Are More Common In Winter Season?

What exactly causes heart health to suffer in the winter is still unknown, but many theories exist, as do some risk factors.

To function optimally during the winter, our bodies go through certain physiological and biological changes. These changes in human body due to cold weather can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Low temperatures can lead to:

Elevated Blood Pressure Levels

During the winter, the body’s sympathetic nervous system activation increases, resulting in blood vessel narrowing, also known as ‘vasoconstriction’.  When this actually occurs, blood pressure rises and the heart has to work harder to pump blood to various parts of the body. Furthermore, during the colder months, the temperatures can make it difficult to maintain body heat, resulting in hypothermia, which can cause serious damage to the heart’s blood vessels.

Increased Pressure On The Heart

In addition, to maintain a healthy body temperature during the winter, heart must work harder. Winter can cause hypothermia, a condition in which the body loses heat more quickly than usual, resulting in heart muscle damage.

Increased Heart Rates

The cold can constrict blood vessels and coronary arteries, resulting in high blood pressure, restricted blood flow, and a reduced supply of oxygen to the heart, which can lead to a heart attack.

Why Heart Attacks Are More Common In Winter Season?

Poor Mental Health Or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Furthermore, emotional stress during the winter, known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, can raise stress hormone levels, increasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

While there is no specific cause, many experts believe that one of the reasons for the increase in heart attacks is due to physiology of human body and how a drop in temperature tends to affect the heart. Several studies have found that there is a higher incidental risk of strokes, heart failure, cardiovascular issues, arrhythmias, and disorders during the winter.

How Do The Risks Affect Patients With Heart Disease?

The winter chills can be difficult to deal, during the winter. Whenever the temperature falls, the body has to work twice as hard to regulate heat, which strains the heart’s function. For someone who is already a heart patient or has a history of heart attacks, the risk can be quite high. The body’s oxygen requirements increase during the winter season. With vasoconstriction already in place, less oxygen reaches the heart, increasing the risk of a heart attack.

What Other Factors Are Causing Issues?

With the arrival of winter, there may be an inadvertent increase in factors that can contribute to the risk of a heart attack.

Lack Of Exercise

Colder temperatures may make it difficult for people to get out and be physically healthy and active, or they may put off exercising, which is bad for the heart.

Over-Eating Habit

Food consumption and habits can also change, and a higher intake of cholesterol-raising foods can have a negative impact on heart health and arteries. Also remember, that stress and other concerns can increase overall risks.

Increased Pollution

Furthermore, as smog and pollution levels rise, Particulate Matter (PM) levels in the air can exacerbate inflammation and cause heart problems. Anecdotal evidence has shown that pollution levels are associated with a whopping 69 percent increase in cardiovascular deaths, as well as a rise in mortality rates globally.

All of these factors, combined with genetic risks and a lack of attention to health, can make heart attacks a serious concern during the winter.

Why Heart Attacks Are More Common In Winter Season?

How Can Individuals Reduce The Risk Of Heart Attack And Stay Safe?

Heart attacks can be dangerous and necessitate immediate medical attention at any age. With an increased risk during the winters and already high pollution levels, it’s even more important to take the right approach, stay on the right track of health, and keep heart diseases at bay. Here are a few expert-recommended ways to keep heart in good working order:

Dress Appropriately

A change in weather may increase chances of becoming ill quickly. People who are at risk should dress appropriately and cover themselves in layers appropriate for the weather. It’s also a good way to deal with the seasonal issues that cause pollution levels to rise.

Stay Physically Active

If the cold weather is making individuals afraid to go outside then, they should find alternative ways to exercise. Regular physical activity and exercise help to boost the immunity, regulate body temperature, and keep people fit. Home workouts, heart-healthy aerobic moves, yoga, and meditation can also help.

Reduce The Risk Of Comorbidities

To reduce the risk of heart disease and sudden heart attack, external comorbidities and other risk factors, such as diabetes, blood pressure levels, and other vascular issues, must be managed. If left unchecked, it can complicate a person’s case or make them more vulnerable to danger.

Keep A Check On Eating Habits

The winters can increase one’s appetite, and there can also be a tendency to have more fried, sweet foods, some of which can be high on cholesterol, sugars and fats. Keep track of eating habits, set limits, and look for healthier alternatives whenever possible. Limit the consumption of alcohol and tobacco as well.

Assess The Risks And Get Preventive Screenings

To reduce the risk of heart disease and prevent sudden heart attacks from worsening, it is critical that everyone undergoes preventive screenings on time, assesses familial risks and risk factors, and takes appropriate action.

Do Not Delay In Seeking Assistance

A heart attack necessitates immediate, emergency care. Identify warning signs and symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible, and do not ignore any symptoms. Irritation, heaviness in the chest, sweatiness, shoulder pain, jaw pain, dizziness, or nausea are all symptoms to be taken seriously.

Why Heart Attacks Are More Common In Winter Season?

Conclusion

As temperatures began to drop, the risk of a heart attack begins to climb. Cold weather can sometimes create a massive flood of risk factors for cardiovascular problems.

Read Also: Arrhythmia- A Heart Rhythm Abnormality

Many of these threats are caused by a “mismatch between supply and demand”, as doctors call it. The supply of oxygen-rich blood to heart muscle can be reduced in cold weather. It can also put humans in situations that force their heart to work harder, requiring more oxygen-rich blood as a result. A mismatch like this, a lower supply of oxygen to the heart combined with a higher demand for oxygen by the heart, prepares for something like a heart attack.

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