Take Care of Your Heart This Winter

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) is the number one cause of death worldwide. Around 18 million people die each year from CVDs, an estimated 31% of all deaths worldwide. Seasonal variation in morbidity and mortality due to CVDs has been noted in countries both north and south of the equator, with higher incidence rates during the winter than in the summer. This variation is linked with multiple factors, such as temperature, physical activity, vitamin D levels, respiratory infections, diet and obesity.

  • Temperature: Several studies have found relationship between cardiovascular diseases and external temperature. During winters, there is less sweating, leading to no salt loss from the body. The fluid overload becomes more (hypervolemia) during winters leading to heart problems.
  • Physical Activity: In both sexes, overall levels of physical activity are significantly higher in summer than in winter. Physical inactivity is strongly positively associated with CVDs.  In a study conducted by Magnus and colleagues demonstrated that physical activities such as walking, cycling and gardening only protect against acute coronary events if undertaken throughout the year.
  • Vitamin D Deficiency: Several studies have demonstrated association between low vitamin D level and Coronary heart disease (CHD) and hypertension. Thus, vitamin D-deficiency may increase the risk of hypertension. If you have a known Vitamin D deficiency, then a high potency Vitamin D Supplement will be beneficial to the cardiovascular system. (Warning: Use should be short-term and should include regular monitoring of 25-(OH)- and 1,25-(OH)2-vitamin D levels.) If you don’t know about your vitamin D levels, then take the supplement recommended at bottom of this article.
  • Respiratory Infections: A number of microbial agents have been implicated in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, including Chlamydia pneumoniae, Helicobacter pylori, and Inflaunza verus. A number of investigators have postulated that seasonal variations in CVDs may be attributed, in part, to the fact that respiratory infections are more common in winter months. Respiratory infections may increase the risk of developing or dying from CHD through an increase in plasma fibrinogen and endotoxin inhibition of fibrinolysis.
  • Diet and Obesity: Dietary intake in summer and winter is different as well as body mass index (BMI) and serum cholesterol. Elevated Serum cholesterol level has been shown to be associated with an increased risk for development of and death due to CVD. Serum cholesterol is strongly associated with endothelial dysfunction and reduced nitric oxide bioavailability, which may lead to functional arterial stiffening.

Recommendations

  1. Do regular physical activity.
  2. Dress warmly in winter. (Especially the elderly people)
  3. Adopt diets low in cholesterol and trans-unsaturated fats. Supplement with Antioxidant Multivitamin.
  4. Bask in the sun as it will help reduce appetite and also provide Vitamin D. Include a supplement rich in Vitamin D & natural fish oil.
  5. Check your blood pressure twice a week in winters.
  6. Patients who have suffered heart attack should revisit their doctors.

Resources:


  • Winter Hypertension: Potential mechanisms – [Go to]
  • Winter Cardiovascular Diseases Phenomenon – [Go to]
  • Association between winter season and risk of death from cardiovascular diseases – [Go to]

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