Heart Health and Winter Overexertion

heart health winter overexertion

At Rainy Lake Medical Center, we’re proud of the services we provide at our cardiology center. For everything from cardiac rehab to diagnostic services, we’re here to help with all heart disease and related issues you or a loved one may have.

With the cold winter on the way in a hurry, those with heart issues have to be especially diligent. Cold weather can lead to larger heart risks, including increased risk of a heart attack, stroke and various other heart-related conditions. Let’s look at some basic tips for your exertion levels over the winter, and how they might relate to your heart condition.

Winter Overexertion

Winter exertion can refer to anything from a basic walk up to shoveling heavy, difficult snow in your driveway. Any such activity can put extra strain on your heart – cold temperatures make the body work harder for oxygen, which affects blood flow within the body. This can lead to a heart attack or one of several other related events. Speak to one of our professionals about your specific condition, and what kinds of winter activities are safe for you to participate in.

Risks of Overexertion

Risks of overexerting yourself can range from very minor to serious and life-threatening. These include:

  • Cold exposure: Cold temperature causes blood vessels to constrict, and the body has to work harder to move blood around.
  • Overheating: Overheating, which often happens due to sweating from exertion with many layers on, causes blood vessels to dilate. This lowers your blood pressure dramatically. If you feel too warm during exertion, take a short break. You can also consider removing some clothing to help cool down.
  • Flu: The flu can be a risk factor for a heart attack. The flu causes the heart to beat faster in response to fever symptoms, and can also make you dehydrated, lowering your blood pressure and the heart’s oxygen supply.
  • Missed prescriptions: If you know travel conditions won’t be ideal on a trip, plan ahead to make sure you have all your necessary heart or blood pressure medication.

Signs of Heart Attack

If you notice any of these signs, call 911 immediately:

  • Chest discomfort – pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain
  • Unusual shortness of breath
  • Pain or discomfort in arms, back, stomach, neck or jaw

For more on staying safe from overexertion during the winter with a heart condition, or to find out about any of our other health services, speak to the staff at Rainy Lake Medical Center today.

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