Beware, older adults! Winters can prove to be lethal for you
|Various studies over the years have shown that hospitalization and mortality rates for heart failure patients are higher during the winter.|
Numerous researchers and experts have labeled winter as the most crucial season
for those who suffer from heart ailments.
Undoubtedly, the winter season is quite harsh on heart patients, since the heart has to work twice as harder to maintain body heat during this period.
Arteries tend to shrink and tighten as the temperatures fall. This restricts blood flow and reduces oxygen supply and the lack of vitamin D and changes in the daylight to night-time ratio don't exactly help matters.
A drastic change in temperature and atmospheric pressure is closely related to rate
of hospitalization and death in elderly patients with heart failure.
Various studies over the years have shown that hospitalization and mortality rates for heart failure patients are higher during the winter.
'Heart failure' is a chronic (long-term) coronary artery disease (CAD) which, despite its literal connotation, doesn't mean that the heart has failed and is about to stop working, rather it is a potentially life-threatening condition where the heart is unable to pump enough blood as required by the body.
Low temperatures can cause blood vessels to narrow, restricting the flow of blood through the body and so reducing the amount of oxygen reaching the organs including the heart. This means the heart needs to work even harder to continue pumping enough blood and oxygen into the body.
A study shows that exposure to cold or high-pressure weather could trigger events leading to hospitalization or death in heart failure patients. There are several reasons to this: During cold weather, smog & pollutants settle on the ground leading to chest infections & breathing problems.
During winter, the BP rises and coronary arteries shrink leading to lack of blood supply. As sweating doesn't occur, the extra water gets accumulated in lungs leading to failure symptoms. Finally, due to weather change, various respiratory infections are also more common.
The cold weather can create an unfavourable environment for heart patients, especially for people who are above the age of 50 or have had a history of heart problems, diabetes, and hypertension.
People even confuse heart failure with a heart attack. The fact of the matter is that both are entirely different disease conditions, with the only possible link being that a prior heart attack can possibly lead to the onset and build-up of heart failure but not all heart failure is from a heart attack.
Ignoring heart failure can be very risky as people living with undiagnosed and untreated heart failure face a high risk of sudden death and poor quality of life.