BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – With the cold weather that the winter months bring, cardiac incidents become more common.
When temperatures dip below freezing, it can cause the blood vessels in your heart to actually shrink a bit, which decreases the amount of blood flow to the heart. This can cause cardiac problems such as heart attacks or strokes.
Especially during the winter months, doctors recommend limiting exposure in cold weather. When going outside in low temperatures, doctors encourage people to dress warm and wear extra layers.
“We just want patients to be aware of that, that’s always possible, and asking other people to help shovel driveways or hiring someone to do some plowing for you might help prevent some of those cardiac events,” said Dr. Kalie Murphy, who works in the emergency department for Mercy Health.
Murphy said now through February is when the hospital tends to see an increase in cardiac cases.
“Anyone who has a cardiac history or risk factor — so anyone who’s a little bit overweight or a smoker, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, things along those lines — we want those patients to take the most precautions, for sure,” Murphy said.
Children and the elderly can also be at risk because they might not be able to sense the temperature as well.
While cold temperatures can’t be changed, patients can be more diligent to get their blood pressure under control through things like limiting exposure, quitting smoking and getting more exercise.
Those that are more at risk are encouraged to follow up with either their family doctor or cardiologist frequently, especially in the winter months.