Is your heart at risk this winter?

Is your heart at risk this winter?

As the seasons change, so does the potential for different health complications. With the air getting colder and the snow starting to fall, the upcoming winter weather can pose challenges on the heart.

According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States. The likelihood of cardiovascular complications increases in the winter months due to the cold weather.

Dr. William Witmer, an interventional cardiologist at Aurora BayCare, answers some common questions about how the winter season can impact your heart:

How does winter weather impact your cardiovascular health?

Winter puts extra stress on your heart, lungs and circulatory system. In cold weather, the body constricts blood vessels, which then causes the heart to work harder and raises your blood pressure. This extra pressure in your circulatory system increases the risk of stroke and heart attack.

What steps can you take to protect your heart during the winter months?

Be sure to dress for the weather and go inside to warm up as needed. A change in lifestyle habits can also help, such as eating right, exercising and quitting tobacco.

It’s important to see your cardiologist for guidance and personalized care. They can work with you specifically on prevention, diagnoses and ongoing medical management.

Are there specific considerations for women and their heart health?

Women often experience different heart attack symptoms than men. Instead of crushing chest pain, women often feel lighter chest pain, back discomfort, and shortness of breath.

The most important part of heart health is early detection. Knowing your risk increases your ability to prevent heart disease.

Want to learn more about your risk for heart disease? Take a free online quiz to learn more.

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Breanna Hammer