Keep your heart healthy all win­ter!

Woman's World - - Start Your Week With A Smile - —Peg Verone

Br­rrr! A new Swedish study con­firms that as tem­per­a­tures fall each win­ter, our heart at­tack risk climbs, and re­cent U. S. re­search points to a 35% in­crease in heart at­tacks in win­ter! How can you keep your heart healthy all sea­son long? Eas­ily!

Max­i­mize blood flow by bundling up!

“When your body is sud­denly ex­posed to frigid tem­per­a­tures, blood ves­sels con­strict, in­creas­ing your heart rate, rais­ing your blood pres­sure and forc­ing your heart to work harder,” says car­di­ol­o­gist Ildiko Agos­ton, M.D., of the Women’s Com­pre­hen­sive Health In­sti­tute at the Univer­sity of Texas in San An­to­nio. Your best de­fense? Wear lay­ers to trap heat in­side as in­su­la­tion.

Pre­vent block­ages with smart shov­el­ing!

Cold weather plus any ex­er­tion (such as shov­el­ing snow or walk­ing briskly against a stiff wind) can prod ar­ter­ies to con­strict and hor­mone lev­els to fluc­tu­ate, “caus­ing platelets to get stick­ier and clots to form more eas­ily,” says car­di­ol­o­gist Samin Sharma, M. D., di­rec­tor of Clin­i­cal and In­ter­ven­tional Car­di­ol­ogy at Mount Si­nai Hos­pi­tal in New York. To pro­tect your­self, move slowly and fol­low the Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion guide­lines for snow shov­el­ing: Use a small shovel, push the snow rather than lift it, take lots of breaks and don’t eat a big meal be­fore or after shov­el­ing.

Lower your blood pres­sure with hot co­coa!

Head­ing out­doors? Skip the al­co­hol! It can in­crease your sen­sa­tion of warmth, caus­ing you to un­der­es­ti­mate the ex­tra strain on your heart in the cold. In­stead, sip some hot co­coa: It con­tains com­pounds that lower your blood pres­sure enough to cut your heart at­tack risk 10%.

Baby your ar­ter­ies with D!

Dur­ing win­ter’s short days, your vi­ta­min D level can dip— a dan­ger be­cause peo­ple with the least D are 52% more likely to have car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, re­veals re­cent re­search. “Vi­ta­min D pre­vents in­flam­ma­tion in the ar­ter­ies and im­proves their func­tion,” says Dr. Sharma. Ask your doc­tor to test your vi­ta­min D level. In the mean­time, take a daily sup­ple­ment with at least 600 IU of vi­ta­min D-3, the most ab­sorbable form.

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