Cold, Windy Days Can Strain the Heart | MyHeartDiseaseTeam

Connect with others who understand.

sign up Log in
Resources
About MyHeartDiseaseTeam
Powered By
See answer

Cold, Windy Days Can Strain the Heart

Posted on November 9, 2018

By Dennis Thompson, HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 24, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Brisk autumn winds and chilly winter temperatures may make you more vulnerable to heart trouble, a new study suggests.

Researchers found "an increase in heart attacks in low temperature, strong wind, low sunshine duration
and low atmospheric pressure," said senior author Dr. David Erlinge, head of cardiology at Lund University in Sweden.


However, the news isn't all worrisome.

The risk of heart attack decreased about 3 percent for every 45-degree Fahrenheit (F) increase in minimum air temperature, the study reports.

"It's important to note the overall effect here is quite modest," said Dr. Usman Baber, an assistant professor of cardiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

The study involved more than 274,000 Swedes who had heart attacks between 1998 and 2013. Researchers looked up the weather on the day of each heart attack, to see if certain conditions appeared to make people more prone to heart problems.

Air temperature had the most profound effect on heart attack risk, with risk greater when the temperature dropped below 32 degrees F. But short days of sunshine, brisk winds and lower air pressure also were linked to increased risk.

The observed increase in heart attack risk could be due to weather's effect on the circulatory system, Erlinge explained.

"We know that cold and wind cause the body to contract the blood vessels of the skin to preserve temperature and energy," Erlinge said. "This causes the heart to pump against higher resistance, which increases the stress on the heart and may trigger a heart attack."

However, the study can't prove a cause-and-effect relationship, and Baber noted that many other factors may also be at play.

"I suspect the basis for this observed association is going to be more complex than that," Baber said. "Physiology may play a role, but other factors like patient behavior that varies with weather might play a role."

"When weather changes, people may behave differently," Baber continued. "Maybe they are more stressed. Stress plays a major role in heart attack risk. Maybe people don't take medications as frequently."

Reduced physical activity, dietary changes
and depression are other behavioral factors that could influence seasonal heart attack risk, the researchers added.

Folks also might be more prone to respiratory infections and flu during this type of weather, and those illnesses are known risk factors for heart attack. For example, it's been shown that a respiratory infection can cause a six-fold increase in the risk of heart attack, the researchers noted.

If you're concerned about your heart health, take the time to slip on a sweater or jacket during brisk days, or bundle up when the mercury takes a deep dive, Erlinge said.

"If you are at high risk, you may avoid going out in really cold, windy weather," Erlinge added.

The study was published Oct. 24 in the journal JAMA Cardiology.

SOURCES: David Erlinge, M.D., Ph.D., cardiology head, Lund University, Lund, Sweden; Usman Baber, M.D., assistant professor, cardiology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City; Oct. 24, 2018, JAMA Cardiology

Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved.

Here are some questions and conversations from MyHeartDiseaseTeam:

How do you treat Heart Disease in very very cold weather?

I have noticed since being on blood thinner I am much more sensitive to the cold weather, anyone else have the same issues?

Does being outside during cold weather ever make you feel drained? Share in the comments below or directly on MyHeartDiseaseTeam.

Posted on November 9, 2018
All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.

We'd love to hear from you! Please share your name and email to post and read comments.

You'll also get the latest articles directly to your inbox.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Related Articles

Your heart is a powerful pump that pushes blood through your body like water flowing through pipe...

8 Severe Aortic Stenosis Symptoms: Dizziness, Heart Murmur, and More

Your heart is a powerful pump that pushes blood through your body like water flowing through pipe...
If you have a history of heart failure, you’re likely on the lookout for any related symptoms, su...

Are Leaking Legs a Symptom of Heart Failure?

If you have a history of heart failure, you’re likely on the lookout for any related symptoms, su...
If you’ve been diagnosed with heart failure, it means that your heart can’t pump blood as well as...

8 Heart Failure Symptoms and Warning Signs

If you’ve been diagnosed with heart failure, it means that your heart can’t pump blood as well as...
Leg pain is a familiar and uncomfortable experience for many members of MyHeartDiseaseTeam.

Leg Pain and Heart Disease: 5 Tips for Relief

Leg pain is a familiar and uncomfortable experience for many members of MyHeartDiseaseTeam.
One of the most common symptoms of heart disease is fatigue, often occurring with other symptoms...

Fatigue and Heart Disease

One of the most common symptoms of heart disease is fatigue, often occurring with other symptoms...
Heart disease describes a range of heart conditions, including arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythm...

5 Symptoms of Heart Disease You Should Know

Heart disease describes a range of heart conditions, including arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythm...

Recent Articles

If you’re worried about having a heart attack because you have a family history of heart disease ...

Are Heart Attacks Hereditary? 6 Facts To Know

If you’re worried about having a heart attack because you have a family history of heart disease ...
If you’ve been diagnosed with a heart condition, you may wonder whether your disease is permanent...

Is Coronary Heart Disease Reversible?

If you’ve been diagnosed with a heart condition, you may wonder whether your disease is permanent...
Living with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or other forms of heart disease often means working with ...

4 Low-Sugar Dessert Recipes for Heart Disease

Living with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or other forms of heart disease often means working with ...
MyHealthTeam does not provide health services, and if you need help, we’d strongly encourage you ...

Crisis Resources

MyHealthTeam does not provide health services, and if you need help, we’d strongly encourage you ...
Do you struggle with shortness of breath from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)? HCM causes the h...

4 Tips To Relieve Shortness of Breath From Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Do you struggle with shortness of breath from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)? HCM causes the h...
The enormous popularity of energy drinks has created a worldwide market valued at $21 billion and...

Are Energy Drinks Bad for Your Heart?

The enormous popularity of energy drinks has created a worldwide market valued at $21 billion and...
MyHeartDiseaseTeam My heart disease Team

Thank you for subscribing!

Become a member to get even more:

sign up for free

close