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Heart patients need to avoid extreme cold

Heart patients need to avoid extreme cold

Islamabad : After the recent rain in this region of the country and snowfall over hills in northern parts, the mercury has registered further fall while very cold and dry weather is being expected in most parts of the country and this cold wave may cause serious complications for the patients suffering from cardiac problems, high blood pressure or coronary heart disease.

According to health experts, the chronic patients including heart patients must avoid exposure to extreme cold particularly from evening till morning because the severe cold affects blood pressure of both the healthy and hypertensive people while disturbing functioning of a number of other body organs badly.

When the temperature starts getting near to zero degrees Celsius in winter, the inhalation of extreme cold air causes vasoconstriction of peripheral blood vessels that may cause problems for chronic patients including heart patients.

Head of Cardiac Centre at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences Professor Dr Naeem Malik expressed this while talking to ‘The News’ adding the extreme cold weather conditions affect routine of heart patients involving diet and physical activities and it may make them vulnerable to serious complications.

Deputy Director at PIMS Dr. Wasim Khawaja is of the view that chronic patients suffering from heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes may suffer from complications after the setting in of extreme cold weather and it is alarming because most of the patients are unaware of the bad effects of cold weather on their health.

Both the systolic and diastolic mean blood pressures exhibit a seasonal peak during winter and trough in summer among adults, the elderly, and children and thus it is a must for chronic patients to follow a proper routine after fall in mercury.

Studies reveal that vasoconstriction, the narrowing of blood vessels in result of contraction of muscular wall of the vessels has extreme bad effects on health of patients with heart problems and hypertension as it may result in increase in blood pressure.

In case a chronic patient needs to stay outdoor in extreme cold, in morning, evening or at night, he must cover his nose properly with a warm clothe to avoid inhalation of extreme cold air, said Dr. Khawaja.

Most of the chronic patients including those suffering from heart disease or blood pressure get physically inactive in extreme cold and as a result, their bodies do not lose salts that may cause problems for them. Patients with heart diseases and other like chronic patients should get themselves involved in physical activities or go regularly for a walk at daytime, he said. It is important that being active is beneficial for your blood pressure, blood lipid levels, blood glucose levels, blood clotting factors, the health of blood vessels and inflammation.

According to various studies, Pakistani population has one of the highest risks of coronary heart disease (CHD) in the world. In Pakistan, 30 to 40 per cent of all deaths are due to cardiovascular diseases (CVD). The number of coronary heart disease deaths in Pakistan has reached about 200,000 per year that is 410/100000 of the population. The CHD is now the leading cause of death in Pakistan.

Experts say that by taking care and following proper precautionary measures, the heart patients may avoid bad effects of extreme cold on their health.

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