Heart Attack Risk Peaks in Winter

Winter season brings several health worries in its wake including ailments associated with cold, increase in asthma attacks or other pulmonary diseases. However, one of the less talked about effects of winters include a spike in the number of heart attacks.

The risk of heart attacks increases in winters as compared to warmer
temperatures due to several factors. However, most people remain
blissfully unaware of this correlation, putting them at the risk of
avoidable health complications, even death.

"Though there is no clear reason yet understood for a rise in heart
issues in winter, medical community ascribes a variety of reasons for
it. One of them is hypothermia or a sudden drop in body temperature
below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. This occurs when the body suddenly loses
its capacity to produce enough energy to keep the body warm. This
happens due to extreme exposure to cold and can be disastrous for the
heart. Another factor is that the body feels greater physical exertion
in winters, and this can be harmful for the heart. It is also believed
that cold season causes thickening of the arteries and vessels of the
heart, putting it at greater risk of heart attack," says Dr Kamal
Sharma-Interventional Cardiologist-Columbia Asia Hospital to .

"These factors can be controlled and prevented if people are aware and
exercise the desired precautions. However, we witness very low levels
of awareness among the people about the increased risk of winters to
the heart," adds Dr Kamal Sharma, Interventional Cardiologist,
Columbia Asia Hospital.

As the temperatures drop and chilly winds start blowing, it becomes
difficult to retain body heat. The loss of heat from body or a fall in
body's internal temperature is dangerous for people living with
cardiovascular disease. People with coronary heart disease often
suffer angina or chest pain when exposed to cold weather.

In fact, studies in several countries have shown that the number of
heart attacks and even heart attack related deaths are higher in the
colder season as compared to the summers.

It is therefore imperative to educate people about the need to
exercise greater precautions for heart in the winter season.

Many people do not know the dangers of being outdoors in cold weather
and do not take necessary precaution like wearing warm clothing to
prevent the body heat from escaping.

Cholesterol levels fluctuate significantly with the change in the
season, which may leave people with borderline high cholesterol with
greater cardiovascular risk during the winter months. Apart from
managing cholesterol levels, it is crucial that we keep small things
in mind and do not stress the heart.

Things to Do and Avoid:

· Never step out unprotected. Wear layers of warm clothing to
maintain heat. Always wear a head scarf to keep the head and ears
covered. Make sure you wear warm socks and gloves to minimize chances
of the body losing heat.

· Do not over indulge in alcohol, thinking that it will help
you keep warm and cozy. Alcohol may increase a person's sensation of
warmth and may cause them to underestimate the extra strain their body
is under, during the cold.

· Do not indulge in things that exhaust you. Over-exhaustion
can be doubly harmful in winters. Give yourself a break and take
frequent rest so as not to overstress your heart.

· People end up eating more than the normal quantity in
winter, but eating a large meal at one go can put an extra load on
your heart. Avoid!

· Never take chest discomfort lightly. Even if the pain is
nominal, immediately approach a doctor and get yourself checked.

It is also important to know CPR to save lives, be it winter or
summer. Unfortunately in India not many people know how to administer
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation to a victim of cardiac arrest. It is
important to spread awareness about the need for learning CPR

About Columbia Asia Group of Companies

The Columbia Asia Group is owned by more than 150 private equity
companies, fund management organizations and individual investors. The
group currently operates eleven facilities in India and has presence
in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad, Kolkata, Mysore, Patiala
and Pune. The company also operates hospitals in Malaysia (10),
Vietnam (3), and Indonesia (3). The Indian management operations are
managed from its office in Bangalore.