Did You Know: You Are At A Higher Risk Of Heart Attack During Winters Than In Summers
An analysis shows that heart attacks are more likely to peak during winters because a fall in temperature triggers life-threatening diseases. The average number of heart attacks during winters in higher as compared to the number of attacks in summers. This is the outcome of a Swedish study. When temperature falls as low as zero degrees, the average number of heart attacks rose to four cases per day, higher than the number of attacks when the temperature was above ten degrees. Other factors contributing to it were high wind velocity, less duration of sunshine and high humidity.
“There is seasonal variation in the occurrence of heart attack, with incidence declining in summer and peaking in winter,” said the lead author of this study, Moman A. Mohammad, from the Lund University in Sweden.
In extreme low temperatures, the body constricts blood vessels decreasing thermal conduction of the skin and increasing arterial blood pressure. This is how the body responds usually to extreme cold. In other cases, the body responds by shivering which increases heart rate and increases metabolism, keeping the body warm.
To this he added, “Our results consistently showed a higher occurrence of heart attacks in sub-zero temperatures. The findings were the same across a large range of patient subgroups, and at national as well as regional levels, suggesting that air temperature is a trigger for heart attacks.”
Mohammad says, “In the majority of healthy people these mechanisms are well tolerated. But in people with atherosclerotic plaques in their coronary arteries they may trigger a heart attack.”
Infections of the respiratory tract and influenza are also affected by seasonal variation and are contributing factors for a heart attack.
“In addition, seasonal-dependent behaviours such as reduced physical activity and dietary changes could also play a role in the increased occurrence of heart attack during colder weather.” Mohammad said.
The results of this study were presented in the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Barcelona.