1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email
Trisha Torrey

A Cold Weather Tip for Anyone With Heart Disease

By February 6, 2009

Follow me on:

It may be Go Red Day for women's heart health day, but it seems only fair to share a tip for anyone at all (not just women!) who has heart disease.

It's a simple tip, easy for anyone to do, can be life saving, and I would be amazed (and I'll ask you to tell me) if it is advice you have ever heard before?

This tip stems from an article in Forbes Magazine called How to Avoid a Heart Attack.

Here it is: When you go outdoors in the cold winter air, and particularly if you plan to exert any kind of effort in that cold air, such as shoveling, or walking the dog, or playing with your kids or grandkids -- any sort of effort -- then wear a scarf to cover your mouth and nose. The idea is to warm up the air you breathe.

I interviewed Dr. Robert Carhart, cardiologist from SUNY Upstate Medical University, and asked him why on earth a scarf would be important. Here's what he told me:

When we breathe cold air into to our lungs, it constricts the blood vessels in our chest area right away. Because those blood vessels are then narrower, the heart must pump harder, working overtime and beating faster to pump blood in and out. When a heart isn't capable of successfully pumping so hard and fast, a heart attack can be the result.

Exposed hands, ears or any other body part will also result in constricted blood flow, so Dr. Carhart's advice was to cover yourself up well to help your heart.

Dr. Rich, our About.com guide to heart disease provides additional tips, too.

Do you live in a cold climate? Do you know someone who lives in a cold climate and has heart disease? Why not forward this tip on to him or her (see the share button below)?

And I'm curious... have you heart this tip before from your cardiologist or anyone else? Let us know, and share other tips you have with other patients, too.

For the latest news that affects us patients,
and advice for navigating your healthcare,
sign up for my free newsletter.

Want the buzz about patient empowerment,
or have a question you think could be
answered by a fellow patient?
Check out the patient empowerment forum.

Share this post with someone else:
Bookmark and Share

Or share your thoughts with us
by clicking on "Comments" below.

Photo fotosipsak / iStockphoto.com
No comments yet. Leave a Comment
Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.