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Chest discomfort, breathlessness & high blood pressure might be early signs of cardiovascular ailment, suggests Dr Ankur Ahuja

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Chandigarh, December 5, 2023: The cold winter months increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack or failure. This brings to the fore the importance of maintaining good cardiac health as undue stress may pose a threat to cardiac patients. Dr Ankur Ahuja, Senior Consultant, Cardiology, Fortis Hospital Mohali, sheds light on how to ensure good cardiovascular health and prevent cardiac ailments in winter.

Causes
Discussing how the cold affects the heart, Dr Ahuja, added, “The heart rate and blood pressure are usually high in winter. Decreased physical activity and a calorie-rich diet leads to weight gain and rise in cholesterol levels. Further, as the blood vessels constrict in the cold, this exerts pressure on the heart and may cause cardiac problems for some patients.”

Symptoms
Dr Ahuja said the warning signs that point towards a cardiac problem in winter include constant breathlessness, elevated blood pressure, swelling over feet and chest discomfort, especially while walking. “One should be careful about these symptoms and immediately seek medical intervention to prevent a heart attack. People frequently misattribute angina symptoms of chest discomfort to indigestion. It is better to check with your doctor than to suffer a heart attack,” he added.

Prevention

To prevent cardiac ailments during winter, Dr. Ahuja advises against excessive alcohol and smoking, as these habits increase vulnerability to cold temperatures and are major risk factors for heart disease. Smoking, in particular, significantly contributes to heart problems. Wearing adequate winter clothing is essential, as cold weather narrows blood vessels, putting extra strain on the heart. Regular physical activity is also crucial, as a sedentary lifestyle can lead to hypertension and diabetes, both of which are risk factors for heart disease. Additionally, maintaining a balanced diet is important. This includes limiting fat intake and incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables, which are vital for heart health.

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