Cold weather could increase your chances of having a heart attack—here’s why

Simple Health

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The cold weather could increase your chances of having a heart attack, according to cardiologists.

KXAN’s Sally Hernandez found out that’s not the only reason doctors are expecting to see a rise in heart attacks, cardiologist Dr. Vivek Goswami said.

Hernandez: “How does the cold weather impact our hearts?”

Goswami: “Cold weather would maybe, you know, would cause constriction of the muscles inside the arteries and blood supply to the heart… We thought maybe this was due to shoveling snow or maybe some heavy exertion related to the cold weather.”

Hernandez: “Here in Austin, we don’t have a lot of cold weather, but that does not mean you’re not anticipating a number of people who might be going to the emergency room because of heart problems right?”

Goswami: “That’s certainly correct, yes.

For example, there’s a syndrome in medicine called “holiday heart syndrome,” and holiday heart syndrome is a term coined after doctors noticed right around the holiday season, patients would come in with an irregular rhythm called atrial fibrillation, and this atrial fibrillation was precipitated by overindulgence of alcohol.

There’s a lot of chronic cardiac conditions such as heart failure, which can remain stable theoretically throughout the year. When patients overindulge and eat excessively or drink excessively, these patients have a low reserve, and due to that overeating, it can exacerbate some chronic conditions like heart failure that could partially be responsible for the increase in cardiac events.”

Hernandez: “Do you think you’re going to see those rates decline, or are you expecting them to go up?”

Goswami: “80% of all heart attacks are preventable, so four to five cases of the leading cause of death in the United States are preventable—we just need people to do the things that we know are beneficial. So I would encourage people to enjoy themselves, but really take accountability of their health and making sure they’re taking care of themselves, because it does pay a diffidence.”

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