Here in Minnesota, we’re no strangers to the extremes of winter weather. From blizzards to ice to subzero temperatures, we know how to deal with whatever comes our way. But are we taking good care of our heart and health during these cold winter months? Maybe not. But is heart attack risk really higher in winter?
According to the American Heart Association, it isn’t just the exertion of shoveling show that can harm the heart. There are several additional factors that have been shown to impact heart health – and they affect people all over the world, not just in cold weather climates like Minnesota.
When you step outside into cold weather, the temperature makes arteries constrict, decreasing blood flow and the delivery of oxygen. Cold weather also increases the formation of blood clots.
The flu spreads quickly during the winter months. Studies have found an increase in heart attacks after people come down with the flu.
Wood-burning fireplaces create coziness and warmth. But they also significantly increase indoor air pollution, which can harm the heart.
A lack of sunshine means a deficiency in vitamin D for many people. Seasonal Affective Disorder can lead to depression, which in turn can raise the risk of cardiac disease. In addition, it can be tough to find time or motivation to get out and exercise when the daylight hours are short.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years and Valentine’s Day – these are all lovely celebrations, but they can be immensely stressful. Because stress impacts heart health, the holiday season has been found to raise the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Shoveling. Need we say more?
Because many of these winter heart stressors are unavoidable, it’s even more important to take good care of your health during the colder months. Eat a healthy diet, stay active, take time for self-care, get enough sleep, and, of course, learn CPR!
HeartCert CPR is your trusted training partner for CPR, ACLS, PALS, EMR and First Aid in the Twin Cities and throughout Minnesota. We offer online, night and weekend classes to fit your busy schedule!
HeartCert offers a variety of courses, including CPR/AED/First Aid and CPR/AED, Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), and Emergency Medical Responder – First Responder (EMR). Courses and certifications from both the American Heart Association and American Red Cross are available.