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Mar 2, 2024

Extreme Heat can Lead to Serious Heart Troubles

Extreme Heat can Lead to Serious Heart Troubles

Clinical reports demonstrate that thermal tolerance to heat stress is impaired in patients with cardiovascular diseases

Gurgaon, 12thJune, 2018:The brutal heat wave gripping the entire NCR is more than just unpleasant for most healthy people. Hazy, hot and humid days can be downright dangerous for most people and may even lead to cardiovascular troubles, reveals doctor.

Healthy individuals have a capacity to withstand exposure to a hot environment and are able to survive increases in internal temperature of up to 3 °C. However, many clinical reports demonstrate that thermal tolerance to heat stress is impaired in patients with cardiovascular diseases. In particular, cardiovascular conditions associated with ventricular dysfunction and chronic heart failure (CHF) are prone to heat intolerance.

“Your body shouldn’t get too hot. If your body temperature soars too much, the proteins that build your body and run practically all of its chemical processes can stop working. The human body releases extra heat in two ways, radiation and evaporation, both of which stress the heart. These heat dissipating responses are accompanied by critical cardiovascular adjustments, which are under autonomic control. If these adjustments are incompetent, then thermal regulation can be compromised to elevated environmental temperatures. Heat intolerance can severely impairthe cardiovascular and autonomic functioningin body”, says Dr. D.K.Jhamb, Director & HOD, Interventional Cardiology, Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon

Just like water flowing downhill, radiation makes heat naturally move from warmerparts of the body to the cooler ones. Radiation reroutesthe blood flow which makes the heart beat faster and pump harder. On a very hot day, heart has to circulate two to four times as much blood each minute as it does on a cool day.

Furthermore, in evaporation, the molecules of sweat released by skin whisk away the heat, keeping the body cool. However, on a very hot and humid day, there’s so much water vapor in the air that evaporation becomes increasingly difficult and it strains the cardiovascular system. Also, sweat not only pulls heat from the body, but also sodium, potassium and other minerals needed for muscle contractions, nerve transmissions and water balance, making the blood thicker and difficult to flow.

The overburden on cardiovascular system caused by both radiation and evaporation in extremely hot summer days can sometimes lead to serious heart diseases or even fatal conditions like heart attack. Some simple choices however can help you in this weather and keep heat from overstressing the heart and spoiling the cardiovascular system.

Firstly, avoid getting out during day times. Evenings and early mornings are the best times to get out. If you do exercise, then make sure to drink plenty of water. Try to stay in cool surroundings and the best way for that is to be in air-conditioned environment. Fans do work, but only till a certain point.When the air is quite warm, sitting in front of a fan is not very helpful. If you don’t have an air conditioner at home then spend an hour or two in a movie theater, at an air-conditioned store or at a neighbor’s home who has air-conditioner.A cool shower or bathor putting a cold and wet cloth or ice pack under the arms or at the groin can also be helpful.

Make sure to drink enough water for your health. On dangerously hot and humid days, try gulping down a glass of water every hour. Consume less sugary sodas and full-strength fruit juices since they slow the passage of water from the digestive system to the bloodstream. Avoid caffeinated beverages or alcohol because they can cause or amplify dehydration. Also, make sure to eat light and stick with smaller meals that don’t overload your stomach. Cold soups, salads, and fruits can also give necessary coolness to the body.