Dec 16, 2012 9:00 AM by Mary Elizabeth Dallas
SUNDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- As temperatures fall during the winter months, the risk for heart attacks rises for people with heart conditions and those engaging in rigorous physical activity.
"When the temperature outside drops, our blood vessels narrow to prevent our bodies from losing heat," Dr. Holly Andersen, at the Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute of the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, said in a medical center news release. "This is a natural response that can also put people with heart conditions and those involved in strenuous exercise at greater risk of having a heart attack."
Many people are unaware of the dangers that low temperatures and winter storms can pose to their hearts, cautioned Andersen, who is director of education and outreach at the medical center. Shoveling snow, for example, is one of the most exhausting and risky activities people do in the winter since it can raise blood pressure and dramatically increase people's risk for a heart attack.
To protect your heart health this winter, Andersen offered the following safety tips:
Anyone who is overweight, older than 50 or has suffered a heart attack should talk to their doctor before shoveling snow or starting a new exercise program.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about heart attack prevention.