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Cold weather heightens risk of heart problems

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Cold weather heightens risk of heart problems

Ti Gong

Dr Song He of Shanghai Yodak Cardio-Thoracic Hospital checks a patient’s blood pressure.

Doctors are alerting people with cardiovascular diseases to be cautious and protect themselves during the strong cold front, which arrives in Shanghai on Tuesday.

Dr Song He of Shanghai Yodak Cardio-Thoracic Hospital said cold weather increases the risk of cardiovascular problems by raising blood pressure and obstructing blood vessels.

“Winter is the peak season for flu and cold, which can affect people’s immune systems,” Song said. “Lung infections brought on by flu can lead to heart problems.”

Cold weather heightens risk of heart problems

Ti Gong

A man has his blood pressure checked at Jiahui International Hospital.

Epidemiological research shows winter is the worst time of year for those with hypertension. Song encourages people with hypertension to check their blood pressure every day and seek medical attention if there are fluctuations.

Doctors from Jiahui International Hospital offered “heartwarming” tips for the cold weather.

Incidences of heart attacks and strokes increase significantly during the coldest months of the year. The elderly are especially prone to sudden cardiovascular problems during the transition from autumn to winter, and people who have been sick are prone to relapses.

Cardiovascular diseases are No. 1 cause of death globally, taking an estimated 17.9 million lives each year. The diseases are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels and include coronary heart, cerebrovascular and rheumatic heart diseases. About 80 percent of deaths due to cardiovascular diseases are heart attacks and strokes, one-third of which strike people under the age of 70, according to the hospital.

Prevention is key during cold weather.

“Keep warm,” said Dr Emma Sun of Jiahui. “Patients with cardiovascular disease must pay attention to maintaining their body temperature. Head and face blood vessels are sensitive, and sudden contraction after exposure to cold temperatures can easily trigger a chain reaction and induce heart problems. A healthy diet and proper exercise are also important. Keep in mind that winter air is often very cold in the early mornings, so people should exercise inside or wait for a warmer part of the day to exercise outside. We recommend that elderly people go to a hospital to assess their cardiovascular condition when the weather starts getting colder. Early detection helps doctors determine the best treatments. People should also get flu and pneumonia vaccinations.”

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