Thursday, March 30, 2023

Science is why heart attacks are more common in winter

Scripts/News TelecincoMadrid 03/06/2023 06:30h.

The relationship between low temperatures and increased heart attacks.Towfiqu barbhuiya (Pexels)

The winter months are usually the most dangerous for our body, because the cold not only increases respiratory diseases, but also increases the number of myocardial infarctions. This is due to several factors that can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, such as exposure to cold, reduced physical activity, and increased blood pressure due to vasoconstriction (narrowing of blood vessels).

In addition, in winter, the incidence of respiratory infections, such as the flu, also increases, which triggers inflammation and damage to the arteries in people with pre-existing cardiovascular diseases, increasing the risk of heart attack.

It should be noted that, although heart attacks increase in winter, this does not mean that only the cold prevents. Heart attack prevention involves several measures, such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, controlling blood pressure and cholesterol, and avoiding excessive use of tobacco and alcohol.

cold is the enemy

As the Spanish Heart Foundation reports, “the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases increases by more than 20% in winter”. To explain this, the conclusions of a study carried out by researchers from the School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in Britain (LSHTM) look at the conclusions, which concluded that every degree Celsius that decreases the daily temperature, increases the risk of heart attack by 2%.

The cold also causes our body to generate more energy to maintain the correct temperature. This means that people at higher risk of heart problems are more exposed if their heart cannot cope with the increased activity.

The third condition is that the heart attacks more commonly in the winter due to the constriction of the veins in the extremities of the veins. This process, which occurs when the temperature drops, is certainly associated with an increase in the heart, since the heart is forced to pump blood more often to supply the whole body. An increase in blood pressure and heart rate is certainly a challenge that can sometimes lead to an ischemic event (the dreaded heart attack).

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Beware of infection

Although the drop in temperatures directly affects the operation of the heart, there are other factors that cause an increase in myocardial infarctions in the winter months. Most of them have respiratory infections common during the cold season.

Beyond the usual colds, other dangerous diseases can appear not only to control the respiratory system, but also to aggravate some cardiovascular problems. To avoid this, it is recommended that susceptible people receive flu shots, do not indulge in diet, and refrain from drinking alcohol and smoking.

Take care of yourself

Leading a healthy lifestyle and doing moderate physical exercise reduces the chances of having a heart attack, both in winter and at any other time of the year. This concern for health and improvements in medicine has been reflected in the lower number of deaths from acute myocardial infarction in the last two decades. From 2006, when there were 22,028 deaths from this cause in Spain, to 2019 (13,673 deaths), there was a significant decrease.

However, the numbers are high and everyone must do their part to avoid ischemic heart disease, including myocardial infarctions. According to the most recent data published by the National Statistics (INE), these types of diseases were the cause of 28,852 deaths in Spain between 2021, 2.7% less than 2020. It should be noted that men are more prone than women; because there were 17,747 deaths compared to 11,105 deaths.

Preventive measures

There are several measures you can take to prevent a heart attack;

  • Healthy diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and healthy fats can help reduce the risk of heart attack. Avoid processed foods, high in saturated and trans fats, salt and sugar.
  • A healthy weight: Being overweight and obese increases the risk of heart attack, so it is important to maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise.
  • Exercise regularly: Exercise helps maintain a healthy heart and blood vessels, so it is advisable to engage in moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Control blood pressure: High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart attacks. To control blood pressure regularly and, if necessary, to lower it, to cut back on salt and to take medicines prescribed by the doctor.
  • Cholesterol control: High cholesterol is also a risk factor for heart attack. You should be advised to regularly lower your cholesterol and pace, if necessary, to eat a more saturated and trans-diet, to use the medicines prescribed by the doctor.
  • Do not smoke: tobacco increases the risk of heart attack, so it is important to avoid smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke.
  • Manage stress: chronic stress can increase the risk of heart attack. You should treat stress by practicing relaxation techniques, meditation, or yoga.
  • Visit the doctor regularly: It is important to have regular medical check-ups to detect risk factors and ensure that you do not get a heart attack.
  • Nation World News Desk
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