Winterize Your Heart
Have you ever thought about how changes in your life, the environment and the weather can affect your heart? The outside temperature, the amount of sun you get, your exercise level and what you eat all play a large part in how your heart feels and functions.
Even though we know how cold and unpleasant the winter season can be, we don't often attribute our heart health to colder weather. For most, shoveling will not end up being the issue and leading to health problems; however, it is the cold weather that may affect your heart, especially if you have cardiac disease.
Temperatures below 40 degrees cause us to lose body heat, making us shiver. However, what we don't usually realize is that we experience a heart rate increase. In colder weather, a faster heartbeat benefits muscular and respiratory function, but in someone who isn't quite as fit, it can increase the risk of heart failure.
According to researchers at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, the death rate due to heart attacks, heart failure, cardiovascular disease and stroke is up 36 percent higher in winter than in summer. What is the cause? A cardiology fellow at the University of New Mexico believes respiratory infection and the flu could be a significant factor. He also thinks fewer hours of daylight causes loss of vitamin D and therefore depression, as well as poor diet and lack of exercise.
One way to winterize your heart is to educate yourself on how to stay healthy in cold weather. Below is a list of links that will provide helpful information pertaining to the concerns about heart health and the cooler temperatures.
How Does Cold Weather Affect Your Heart?
How Does Cold Weather Affect Your Health?
What is Hyperthermia?
Symptoms of Hyperthermia
Hot Tubbing and the Heart
Side Effects of Lack of Vitamin D
Another way to winterize your heart is to eat super foods that contain essential fatty acids. Eating healthy is part of what is essential to cold weather health; super foods help you stay healthier, they keep your heart stronger and they can help decrease inflammation that may occur on the heart in the cold.
The American Heart Association's Nutrition Center has many great ways where food can support heart health. They suggest eating the following:
- Tuna Fish
Don't Skip a Beat - Head to a 9Health Fair
Your heart is counting on you. Make sure to keep tabs on your overall health regularly. Let us help you - come to a 9Health Fair! Our spring fair locations and dates are available on our website. You can go to our Find-A-Fair page for a list and register online for the one that fits into your schedule. One more great opportunity to own your health in 2015!
Also, celebrate your health by volunteering! By being a volunteer, studies show you will be healthier and happier.
Tell us how you winterize your heart. Share with us on Facebook!
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