Revelling in chilly weather comes at a cost. Dipping temperatures in winter are making people more prone to heart attacks.
Sixty-five-year-old Varun Iyer started feeling queasy the moment he landed at Mumbai airport from Yemen. He was transferred to a private hospital where he underwent a bypass surgery for a blockage in an artery.
“Patients unaware about pre-existing heart conditions are more prone to heart attacks during chilly weather. Their condition exacerbates as temperatures dip,” said Dr Manoj Agny, cardio thoracic surgeon at Breach Candy Hospital, who is treating Iyer.
Mumbai recorded the lowest temperature of 14 degrees on Sunday. Regional meteorological department attributes this to prevalent cold wave in north India.
In winter, the human body may not be able to adapt to colder temperatures, due to which small arteries supplying blood constrict considerably.
“Constriction of small arteries that arise from the aorta lead to a rise in blood pressure. When the heart puts in more effort to pump blood, it gets stressed out, leading to an attack,” said Dr Narendra Bansal, head, cardiology department, JJ hospital.
Doctors warn sudden drops in temperature can cause blood pressure to rise by up to 20% and can be a trigger for heart attacks.
Apart from this, those who drink excessive amounts of alcohol during the holiday season, including Christmas and New Year, end up suffering from ‘holiday heart syndrome.’
People who drink occasionally indulge in binge drinking in New Year or Christmas parties which causes their heart to ‘flutter,’ which is to say that their heart beat goes haywire.
“When a person who is not used to drinking much suddenly, under peer or social pressure, ends up drinking too much, alcohol will slip into cardiac arrhythmia or an atrial flutter.
Also, binge drinkers are advised to keep pills in their pocket on a cardiologist’s prescription in case a condition of arrhythmia arises after consuming too much alcohol.
Dos and don’ts
Avoid early morning walks during winter; cardiac patients should keep themselves covered while sleeping to avoid sudden onset of unnoticed shivering; check blood pressure twice a day; exercise for an hour after sunrise; practise yoga and breathing exercises
Some symptoms of heart attack...
Discomfort in the chest for more than a few minutes, pain in shoulders, neck, arms and jaws, sweating, cool, clammy skin, and/or paleness, shortness of breath