Sunday, 1 November 2015

Keep your heart safe this winter

Keep your heart safe this winter
Awareness must be generated about how the sudden change in weather can cause health complications for the elderly, children and people with existing lifestyle diseases

While the sudden change in weather comes as a sign of relief for many; it also brings with it health implications especially for those suffering from pre-existing lifestyle diseases, the elderly and young children. It is essential that special care is taken during this time to be able to enjoy properly the winter season.
Given that the lack of preventive awareness that exists amongst the masses, special workshops and lectures on winter preparedness will be organized during Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI)’s annual flagship event, the upcoming 22nd MTNL Perfect Health Mela scheduled to be held from Nov 4-8 at the Talkatora Stadium in Delhi.
It is a known fact that the number of deaths due to heart attacks, cardiac arrests and strokes increase during the winters. There are several reasons for this; firstly the reduction in the daylight hours affects the hormonal balance of the body and causes Vitamin D deficiency a common trigger for heart attacks. Additionally, cold temperatures cause the heart arteries to condense thereby restricting the blood and oxygen flow to the heart. This often causes a rise in the blood pressure.
The cold weather also triggers bouts of depression especially amongst the elderly population causing an increase in stress levels and hypertension. People suffering from winter depression are also seen indulging in high sugar, trans fat and sodium comfort food, which can be extremely dangerous for the diabetic and hypertensive population. The temperature drop also increases the chances of blood clot formation, since blood platelets are more active and stickier.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr. K K Aggarwal, President HCFI and Honorary Secretary General IMA said, “The risks of developing serious cardiovascular concerns during winter months can be prevented and easily managed by making some habitual changes to one’s lifestyle. It is advised that heart patients shouldn’t consume alcohol quantities during in winter months as it can cause atrial fibrillation. A heart healthy diet must be followed, and binge eating should be avoided. Eating small and frequent meals is recommended as it helps eradicate overeating and excess pressure on the heart”.
A few tips on how to stay healthy during the winter months include:
·                Don’t stress your heart, regularly step out in sunlight and adequate amounts of aerobic exercise  
·                Don’t indulge in high-intensity workouts excessive exhaustion can overstress your heart. Take rest breaks so that you don’t feel too tired suddenly while walking
·                Don’t go for a walk in extreme chilly mornings, instead go out when the sun is out
·                Ask your doctor to adjust the dosage of your routine medicines
·                Keep a close tab on your cholesterol levels, as they can fluctuate in the winters. Immediately consult your doctor in case you notice something unusual, borderline high cholesterol levels can put you at an increased risk of a heart attack
·                Hypothermia is one such problem that majority of heart patients encounter during winters. To keep the risk of hypothermia away, it is suggested that you stay warmly clad
·                Don’t ignore any unusual symptoms like slight discomfort in the chest, sweating, pain in jaw and shoulders, pain in neck and arms and shortness of breath. Immediately, reach out for medical assistance in case you suffer from any of these symptoms

Prevention is always better than cure. A little extra care can help make the holiday months, more enjoyable and heart healthy.

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