Is your heart at risk in the heat? Here’s what you need to know.
Summertime brings with it an abundance of reasons to celebrate, but it also brings with it warm weather and sunny days that can put your heart at risk. Even if you’re in good health, the heat can sometimes be hard on your heart, especially if you’re not used to it or haven’t taken any steps to protect yourself from the heat. If you haven’t already done so, here are some things you should know about protecting your heart in the heat.
Watch Your Stress
When it’s hot outside, our bodies have to work harder to maintain a normal temperature. This can put extra strain on the heart, which can be dangerous for people with pre-existing heart conditions. Symptoms of heat-related heart problems include chest pain, shortness of breath, and an irregular heartbeat. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical help immediately.
Add Extra Water to Your Diet
During hot weather, your body works harder to maintain a normal temperature. This can lead to dehydration, which can put strain on your heart and make it work harder than usual. Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, during hot weather and limit alcoholic beverages. Avoid large meals, as they can add extra strain on your cardiovascular system.
Cut Back on Salt
When it’s hot outside, our bodies need more water to stay hydrated. To prevent dehydration, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids and avoid beverages that can contribute to dehydration, like alcohol. caffeinated drinks, and sugary drinks. Another way to prevent dehydration is to cut back on salt. Too much salt can cause our bodies to retain water, which can lead to fluid imbalance and cause our hearts to work harder than they need to. To keep our hearts healthy in the heat, it’s important to stay hydrated and cut back on salt.
Another way to protect our hearts during periods of high temperatures is to use fans when possible, especially if we live in a place where air conditioning isn’t available or affordable. However, it’s also important to remember that fans don’t lower body temperature — they just create an artificial breeze that cools us down slightly. To avoid dehydration and minimize our salt intake, we should always drink plenty of water and cut back on foods with added salt when it’s hot outside. Fans can help, but they are no substitute for drinking plenty of water and avoiding salty snacks during hot spells.
One way to protect your heart from the heat is to wear layers of clothing. This will help trap in your body heat and prevent you from overheating. Wearing light-colored clothing will also help reflect some of the sun’s rays. And, be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
You can also help protect yourself from a rapid rise in body temperature by avoiding excessive sun exposure, particularly between 10am and 4pm when sunlight is strongest. Stay out of especially hot and/or humid areas. And if you do become overheated, find some air conditioning and rest immediately until your symptoms subside, then hydrate and cool off with cold water or an ice pack, whichever works best for you. Consult a doctor if symptoms persist beyond a few hours or become worse after seeking treatment.
Stay Cool Indoors with These Simple Tips
During a heat wave, it’s important to stay cool and hydrated. The best way to do this is by staying indoors in air conditioning. If you don’t have air conditioning, there are still ways to keep cool. Try these tips:
- -Wear loose, light-colored clothing
- -Drink plenty of fluids, especially water
- -Avoid hot, heavy meals
- -Take cool showers or baths
- -Stay in the shade or use umbrellas outdoors
- -Use fans to circulate air
Avoid Long Stays Inside Cars
It’s no secret that spending time in a hot car can be dangerous, but did you know that it can also be deadly for your heart? That’s right, prolonged exposure to high temperatures can put strain on your cardiovascular system and lead to serious health problems.
Heat can increase blood pressure and constrict blood vessels, both of which are dangerous for people with cardiovascular problems or existing diseases like hypertension. It can also speed up the body’s metabolism and promote dehydration, which can lead to other problems like kidney stones and dizziness. Even without such complications, those who don’t drink enough water during a hot day are more likely to have a cardiac arrest. For those with cardiovascular conditions, keeping cool is a matter of life or death—especially if your medical condition involves blocked arteries or clots that make it difficult for blood flow through narrowed vessels. If you suspect someone is suffering from heat stroke: Call 9-1-1 immediately!
Know How to Help Someone Who is Overheating
If you see someone who is overheating, the first thing you should do is call 911. If the person is conscious, have them drink cool water and apply a cool, wet cloth to their skin. Get them to a cool place as quickly as possible and have them lie down. Monitor their vital signs and if they stop sweating, their skin turns red or feels hot and dry, or they begin having trouble breathing, call 911 immediately.