Rise In Cardiac Ailments In Winter

Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe, and their impact on human health is a growing concern. In addition, fine particulate pollution in the air is a global environmental issue. A recent study published in the American Heart Association's flagship journal, Circulation, reveals that the confluence of extreme heat and high levels of fine particulate pollution may double the risk of death from heart attacks.

The fast-dipping mercury and bone chilling winter  amid the post- covid trauma have led to a rise in cases of heart-related issues .

There have been  sudden spike in cases of heart attacks and strokes in comparison to last winter, said Dr Naresh Purohit, Visiting Professor In Preventive Cardiology at the Kerala University of Health Sciences, Thrissur.

“Frigid temperatures constrict blood vessels that increase blood pressure which makes it suffer heart attack or stroke. Besides, Covid-19 is also playing a major factor since it affects the circulatory system of the body. If one catch the virus, one is at an increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Covid makes blood thicker and hence blocks arteries,” Dr Purohit explained.

Dr  Purohit, said that the risk of rise in heart-related cases is a common phenomenon during winters. However, Covid-19 is aggravating the issue further in 202l. 

“Many patients with COVID infection are getting complications due to inflammation in the arteries and heart muscle itself. This may complicate matters for heart patients,” he added.

Dr Purohit pointed that Covid-19 has substantially affected the hearts of its patients, especially to those with pre-existing heart problems or other comorbidities.

“Having an incurable viral infection like COVID-19 during winters can increase the risk of heart failure or heart attack. This is because blood vessels in the body become more constricted due to exposure to extremely cold temperatures in winters that can restrict blood flow to the body and to the heart,” he informed.

According to a recent study published in the Australian Medical Journal of Cardiology, 78 per cent of Covid recovered patients have abnormalities in the heart while 60 per cent have an ‘ongoing myocardial inflammation’. It also found higher levels of troponins, the blood enzyme which indicates heart damage, among the study subjects.

According to cardiological Society of India, the numbers of heart attack cases are also increasing since the patients, with existing heart ailments, who have been delaying regular check-ups amid the pandemic, are now coming with aggrieved condition.

“While dip in temperature is the major cause here, the pandemic has made this situation even grimmer. The patients with existing heart ailments who have been delaying regular check-ups are the worst-hit. They are turning in with aggravated condition of their disease,” said the renowned  physician.

Dr Purohit,advised that people with heart conditions and those who have recovered from Covid-19 in the past few months need to remain watchful and take extra care to prevent any fatal heart condition during winters.

“It is important to note that many patients with Covid infection have minimal symptoms but can still have sudden and severe complications. Therefore, one has to be especially watchful for any symptoms of heart disease. Any chest discomfort or sudden difficulty in breathing should not be neglected. One should seek medical care whenever such symptoms occur. Prompt treatment of heart disease can minimise damage to the heart and save lives,” he cautioned.

“Patients should undergo regular screening tests to check their cardiac health. Besides, practice healthy lifestyle , such as avoiding fried food and alcohol, layering of warm clothes, and regular exercise,”  advised Dr Purohit


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