Don’t let winter wreak havoc on your heart

December 4, 2012 at 7:25 pm Leave a comment

December is here and as we enter holiday mode in full swing, chest tightness or racing heart rates may become more common for your aging loved ones. After November’s feast and the constant holiday parties throughout December, life can seem like an endless series of prepping, planning, eating, and visiting- exhausting! We found a great article from written by Anne-Marie Botek from agingcare.com that gives us an inside look of what to expect this holiday season when it comes to our health.

If you are spending the holidays with your aging loved ones, make sure to be aware of increased heart palpitations that may occur in either one of you. According to Cynthia Thaik, M.D. a cardiologist and member of the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, research has shown that cardiovascular deaths spike by about 18 percent as the days shorten and weather cools.

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Why do cardiovascular concerns increase in winter?

Changes that occur during the winter such as cold weather, spending more time indoors, stress, and lack of vitamin D all play a role in increased cardiac problems, says Thaik.

According to a recent study, whether in sunny Florida of freezing Minnesota- the winter months can take a toll on your ticker. Researchers from the University of New Mexico discovered that people who lived in Texas, Georgia, Arizona and Los Angeles experienced the same jump in heart-death risk as those residing in cooler states, such as Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

Take a look at these 6 strategies that can keep you and your aging loved ones healthy and happy during the holiday season:

  1. 1.    Bundle up: Cold weather can cause blood vessels to constrict and blood pressure to elevate, making blood more prone to clotting. Make sure to prepare for the days spent outdoors and layer up!
  2. 2.    Don’t fall of the wagon: Of course it is okay to indulge during holiday celebrations, but Thaik urges people to “keep good habits going during the wintertime.” If you know you or your aging loved one has a big meal planned for that day, make it a point to fit some exercise into that busy schedule!
  3. 3.    Don’t forgo the meds: Do not slack off on health maintenance habits such as medication regimes. This is all part of keeping up with a healthy lifestyle during these somewhat stressful times.
  4. 4.    Get happy: Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that strikes during winter months. These colder months and shorter days sometimes result in people becoming lethargic, hungry, or uninterested. Thaik highlights the importance of finding activities that lift your mood- such as going for a walk or spending time with the whole family.
  5. 5.    Don’t be an early bird: Thaik suggests keeping early morning activities to a minimum during the winter months. Naturally people start tending to their days earlier because of the early sunrise, however blood pressure spikes in the morning, putting these early birds at greater risk for heart issues.
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    December is here and as we enter holiday mode in full swing, chest tightness or racing heart rates may become more common for your aging loved ones. After November’s feast and the constant holiday parties throughout December, life can seem like an endless series of prepping, planning, eating, and visiting- exhausting! We found a great […]
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