Sudden cold dangerous for heart patients

Sudden cold dangerous for heart patients

Cold often means a great challenge for the organism. The low temperatures can represent a dangerous additional burden, especially for the heart. The German Heart Foundation, therefore, calls for a doctor to be consulted immediately if there are warning signals such as pain in the chest. In addition, people who already suffer from heart disease should strictly avoid extreme exertion, such as shovelling snow on cold days.

Physical overexertion at low temperatures

Although nobody should refrain from sporting activities in winter, there are still a few tips to remember, especially when it is cold. Above all, warning signs that indicate heart problems should be taken seriously. “Anyone who feels pain, pressure or a burning sensation in their chest when going out into the cold must pay attention and have the symptoms clarified by a doctor immediately,” warns the Chairman of the German Heart Foundation, Professor Dr Medical Hans Jürgen Becker. “Not infrequently, however, such alarm signals are carelessly pushed onto the bronchi or otherwise trivialized,” the cardiologist adds. The consequences are often fatal.


Existing heart disease – particular caution

Particular caution is required if you already have heart disease. “For example, people with calcification of the coronary arteries should refrain from strenuous exertion such as shovelling snow in extreme cold,” says Prof. Becker, who points out that the additional exposure to cold can quickly overwhelm a previously damaged heart and, in extreme cases, even lead to a heart attack or sudden cardiac death can.

How should one behave?

In principle, however, the German Heart Foundation recommends getting enough exercise even in winter. However, you should prefer less strenuous sports instead of high-impact activities. For example, extended winter walks, walking sessions or short jogging sessions are suitable. It would help if you started slowly so your body can adjust to the cold. If it’s freezing, it’s a good idea to do sports in the gym or swim a few laps in the local indoor pool. As a rule of thumb, it has proven itself to choose the intensity so that the pulse increases, but a conversation is still possible.


Heart Attack: Every Minute Counts!

If severe pain occurs in the chest, which often radiates into the arms, shoulder blades, abdomen, neck or lower jaw, or if there is a massive feeling of tightness, a heart attack must be thought of immediately. Nothing is more important than calling the emergency number 112 immediately. Hurry is the order of the day because life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias, known as ventricular fibrillation, often occur in the early stages of a heart attack. “Without immediate medical measures, this can lead to death within a few minutes,” says Professor Dr. Medical Becker. In addition, more and more heart tissue dies when the underlying blockage of the coronary artery is not eliminated immediately – preferably with a catheter measure that makes the artery passable again. In this way, the damage can be limited, and the performance of the person concerned can be maintained.

Call emergency number 112, not the family doctor!

However, it is essential to ensure an immediate emergency call and call the right place. Instead of dialling 112, many first try to reach their family doctor. “However, vital time is lost as a result,” emphasizes Prof. Becker.

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