The prevalence and incidence of heart diseases are on the rise and we are now burdened with large population groups with heart diseases ranging from hypertension to heart failure.
The cold weather causes blood vessels to constrict, leading to higher blood pressure and making it harder for the heart to pump blood. This strain on the heart can be worsened by factors such as excessive cold weather or holiday stress. Additionally, people tend to be less physically active during the winter months, which can contribute to weight gain and higher cholesterol levels.
Dr Sashi K Srivastav, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Yashoda Hospitals, Hyderabad, winter season poses challenges to heart disease patients as they are more prone to heart failure and the incidence of heart strokes may be precipitated by exertion in cold climates.
In winter there is more chance of coronary vasoconstriction meaning spasm of blood vessels. This can lead to complaints of chest pain and hence patients with heart diseases should avoid exposure to intense cold.
The other risk is the incidence of lung infections which can worsen heart failure.
There is a need for the use of appropriate vaccines to prevent lung infections in patients with heart disease.
Similarly, children with heart problems like holes in the heart, are susceptible to pneumonias which will lead to worsening heart symptoms.
So the precautions for patients with heart disease in winter include avoiding exposure to excess cold temperatures and avoiding lung infections through proper hygiene and vaccines.
Patients with heart disease should continue taking their regular medicines and avoid the progression of the disease in winter.