6 ways to a healthier heart during winter

There is an increase in heart attacks in the winter months. Here’s what you need to know.

man smiling

Winter can cause havoc on the heart, with its cold temperatures, overexertion, stress, alcohol, and illness. No wonder heart attacks tend to increase in the winter months. Here’s what you need to know about winter’s potential heart attack triggers.

1. Consider the temperature

As the temperature drops, your heart has to work harder to keep your body warm. Cold weather can cause blood vessels to constrict, which can raise blood pressure. Dress appropriately.

2. Moderate outdoor activity

It is important to be careful when doing activities in cold weather for the reasons stated above. Depending on your fitness activity, you should be able to do activity in temperatures 10 degrees lower than you are used to. However, avoid sudden exertion, such as lifting a heavy shovel full of snow or walking through heavy, wet snow, or snow drifts.

3. Find ways to relieve stress

Stress can contribute to heart disease by raising blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Make it a point to find positive, healthy ways to manage stress as it occurs. This can diminish its negative consequences. Activities such as breathing deeply, separating yourself from the situation, and smiling can all help calm you.

4. Limit alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol can raise the levels of some fats in the blood, according to the American Heart Association. It can also lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, or a stroke. In addition, alcohol can cause an increase in the amount of food you consume, which can lead to obesity and a higher risk of developing diabetes.

5. Prevent cold and flu

Flu can put stress on the heart. Make sure you get a flu shot. Wash your hands frequently. If you do get sick, speak to your doctor or pharmacist before you begin taking any cold remedies. Some cold treatments can interfere with heart medications or raise your heart rate and your blood pressure. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you need to make any changes to your regular heart medication plan.

6. Know the symptoms

Heart attacks tend to cause chest and upper body discomfort and pain, stomach pain, shortness of breath, anxiety, lightheadedness, sweating, nausea and vomiting, and heart palpitations. Call 911 if you are experiencing any of these.