Temperature Changes during Fall: Increasing Risk of Suffering a Heart Attack

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Temperatures during fall are often unpredictable. Warm days can be followed by cold days or the other way around. This is not only annoying; it can also have a dangerous effect on the health of the heart. Drastic temperature changes put a high burden on our body, which brings along some risks. A recent Belgian study shows that the risk of suffering a heart attack significantly increases at this time.

Cold weather and its effects
The University of Antwerp examined the effects of cold temperatures on the cardiovascular system. With inclusion of the results of a parallel study from Switzerland, important insights have been gained. Both studies came to the same conclusion regarding one aspect: when the outside temperature drops about ten degrees, the risk of suffering a heart attack increases by seven percent. If you already suffer from cardiovascular problems, you should try to protect yourself from drastic temperature changes.
The researchers from the University of Antwerp have found a causal relationship between temperature changes and the risk of suffering a heart attack: the cold temperatures stimulate a platelet aggregation, a storage of platelets that closes the blood vessels. Furthermore, the viscosity of the blood is stimulated. The “Germany Society for Cardiology” (DGK) in Düsseldorf confirmed that exactly these factors are responsible for the formation of blood clots and thrombosis.

Pay attention to the signs
The factors that increase the risk of cardiovascular problems during colder days are hard to detect. Until now, the Belgian researchers were only able to determine one main cause: blood pressure. An increasing blood pressure can be an effect of cold temperatures on the body. Thus, it’s important to frequently measure personal blood pressure, as it reduces the risk of suffering serious heart diseases. It’s possible now to measure your blood pressure at any time or place with modern blood pressure monitors. Furtermore, healthy food and physical exercise are important. Thereby, the risk of suffering a heart attack decreases, and taking a stroll during fall can be enjoyed without worries.

(Image: © Ekaterina Pokrovsky – Fotolia.com)