Expert Warning: Cold weather negatively impacts heart health

Cardiology specialist Dr Okan Ünlüer underlined that coronary heart disease is common in cold weather, saying: “Research shows that blood cholesterol levels rise in the winter months due to reduced activity and eating habits. This is because the cold air causes the blood vessels to constrict and constrict, reducing blood flow in the arteries and reducing the amount of oxygen being sent to the tissues. With the increase in blood pressure in the body, the formation of blood clots increases in cold weather.

Expressing that another serious factor is the polluted air in the winter months, Uzm. Dr Ünlüer said:

“When you exercise, the body’s need for oxygen increases. In cold weather, the amount of oxygen delivered to the tissues decreases. This double effect puts more strain on your heart. In addition, it is a fact that air pollution increases in the winter months. Breathing polluted air is a major risk, especially in city centers or in areas heated by burning coal and wood. However, this does not mean to remain inactive and distance yourself from sports life. Instead, it is better to exercise indoors for a while.”


exp. Dr. Ünlüer continued his words as follows:

“Cardiovascular patients should be careful with heart disease. Heart-related illnesses can progress quite slowly and develop suddenly, and you may not be aware of a problem with your health until you experience a crisis. Those who smoke, eat unhealthy foods, lead sedentary lives and have a family history of heart disease should be more careful than those in the high-risk group. In cold weather, they need to be more careful and protect themselves. There are studies that show the increase in heart attacks after the flu, a period when colds and flu are common in the winter season. In addition, some drugs used in the treatment of flu can increase the risk of a heart attack. Of course we can’t change the air temperatures, but it’s in your hands to quit smoking, lead a more active life, have regular cardiological checkups, don’t do strenuous exercise on a full and empty stomach, don’t take any medications without consultation with a cardiologist and control weight.

Claiming that it would be appropriate to be exposed to the cold and limit time spent in cold weather, Uzm. Dr. Ünlüer said: “You have to dress tight when you go out; especially the head, neck and hands should be covered. The activities and exercises should be done by taking breaks and at a slower pace, care should be taken not to sweat excessively and not to become dehydrated. If medications for the heart are taken, care should be taken to take them regularly. The measures to be taken contribute to a healthy winter season.


Claiming that another danger that can be called in the winter season is hypothermia, Uzm. Dr Ünlüer said: “We call hypothermia when the body temperature falls below 35 degrees, causing the heart, nervous system and other organs to malfunction. Hypothermia is a disease that leads to heart failure and death if left untreated. Symptoms of the disease include a weak pulse, slurred speech, tremors, and confusion. There is a danger of hypothermia for the victims of the earthquake, especially in the earthquake disaster that occurred in Kahramanmaraş and has major consequences for other provinces. People with hypothermia should be treated in a supine position without shaking. Harsh interventions can cause fatal arrhythmias.

exp. Dr Okan Ünlüer said: “Another thing we should underline is that we can remain calm during and after the earthquake. When adrenaline is secreted into the body, the heart beats faster, speeding up blood circulation and increasing blood pressure. In this case, the necessary blood supply to the heart may not be provided. The blood may not reach the heart and brain in a person experiencing extreme stress and anxiety in an earthquake. This leads to a heart attack or stroke. Being able to deal with stress during disasters and in every other area of ​​our lives is vital in that sense.”

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