Heart at­tacks more com­mon if it’s cold

The Herald - - NEWS - JENNIFER COCK­ERELL

HEART at­tacks are more com­mon dur­ing cold weather, with a study find­ing they in­creased “dra­mat­i­cally” when the tem­per­a­ture dropped be­low 15C.

Re­searchers said peo­ple at high risk of a heart at­tack should be put on alert for symp­toms such as chest pain and short­ness of breath when the tem­per­a­ture drops, sug­gest­ing they get sent smart­phone mes­sages warn­ing them to be ex­tra vigilant.

Those likely to be at risk in­clude peo­ple who have pre­vi­ously had a heart at­tack, the elderly, smok­ers, or those with di­a­betes, high blood pres­sure, or who are obese.

The study con­ducted in Tai­wan is be­ing pre­sented at the Asian Pa­cific So­ci­ety of Car­di­ol­ogy (APSC) Congress 2018 in Taipei and used the data of nearly one mil­lion pa­tients.

The team looked at whether pa­tients were more likely to have ex­pe­ri­enced cer­tain cli­mate fac­tors be­fore their heart at­tack than the par­tic­i­pants who did not have a heart at­tack.

They found that lower tem­per­a­ture, tem­per­a­ture fluc­tu­a­tions, and stronger wind sep­a­rately in­creased the risk of hav­ing a heart at­tack the fol­low­ing day.

Study au­thor Dr Po-jui Wu, a car­di­ol­o­gist at Kaoh­si­ung Chang Gung Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal, Kaoh­si­ung City, Tai­wan, said: “We found that the num­ber of heart at­tacks (acute my­ocar­dial in­farc­tions) fluc­tu­ated with the sea­sons, with more at­tacks oc­cur­ring in win­ter com­pared to sum­mer.

“Heart at­tacks in­creased dra­mat­i­cally when the tem­per­a­ture dropped be­low 15C.”

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