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            The Aga Khan University Hospital Pakistan
 

Winter attack on the Heart

 
<p>​Each season brings its own set of diseases and health concerns, and autumn and winters are no exceptions. Extreme weather changes make it difficult for the human body to acclimate easily to the changes, and as a result, some of us get sick with the change in the season. With focus on prevention from flu, cold and stomach flu, people overlook the impact of <em><strong>the drop in temperature on our heart. </strong></em>
</p><p>With the fall in temperature in the winters, our arteries and blood vessels narrow, increasing the risk of heart attack, heart failure and stroke particularly for people with underlying conditions. In addition, in order to keep the body warm, the human heart works harder than usual, resulting in the formation of blood clots and constriction of arteries, elevating blood pressure. Angina, or chest pain caused by coronary heart disease, can also intensify during the winter. Another risk is emotional stress resulting from the season, commonly known as <strong>Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)</strong>, which affects up to <strong>10% </strong>of the population and can raise stress hormone levels, increasing the chances of heart failure and stroke.</p><p>The most common indicator of a heart attack is acute chest discomfort. Symptoms, on the other hand, can differ between men and women. While men may occasionally feel nausea or dizziness, women are much more likely to have unusual symptoms such as indigestion, unusual fatigue and lightheadedness, which may cause them to overlook the warning signs. The most common signs of a heart attack are:
</p><ul style="list-style-type: disc;"><li>Sweating</li><li>Shortness of breath</li><li>Chest, shoulder, back and upper abdominal pain</li><li>Nausea and vomiting</li><li>Dizziness and fainting. </li></ul><p> These signs may vary from person to person. Some people experience excruciating pain, while others show no symptoms at all but still be in danger. </p><p> <strong>Keep a </strong><strong>healthy heart </strong></p><ul style="list-style-type: disc;"><li>Keep a regular check on your blood pressure. Maintaining healthy blood pressure can help you avoid a heart attack. </li><li>Maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet. Avoid eating too much salt, which can build up in your body due to lack of perspiration, causing your heart to get overworked.</li><li>Keep yourself warm and take the necessary steps to manage stress.</li></ul><p> If you experience early signs of a <a href="/pakistan/diseases-and-conditions/Pages/heart-attack.aspx">heart attack​</a>, rush to <a href="/Pakistan/Health-Services/emergency-acute-care/Pages/default.aspx">Emergency Services</a> immediately. 
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