Wise up to winter
Everybody recognises the signs of winter: fallen leaves,
darker evenings, and the cold outside. But do you know how the cold
can affect your heart health?
As winter draws in, it’s important to be aware of the health
risks presented by the cold weather and what you can do to
keep your heart healthy.
Very cold weather can affect your heart by
increasing your heart rate and blood
pressure. Your heart also has to work much harder to keep your
Cold temperatures may also cause changes to
your blood that can increase the risk of developing blood clots and
lead to heart attack and stroke.
Elderly people are particularly
vulnerable to a drop in body temperature (hypothermia) in
the winter months.
Protect your health against the cold by:
- Keeping your home warm and
staying indoors. Try to keep the temperature at least 16°C
- 18°C. You could try using a hot water bottle if
you’re cold in bed.
- Having regular hot meals and
drinks to give your body the energy it needs to keep you warm.
- Wrapping up warm in layers of
clothing when you go outside. Wearing many thin layers can help
keep you warmer than a few thick layers. A lot of heat is lost from
your head, so wear a hat and scarf.
The NHS also has tips and advice on
winter health and how to stay healthy and well during the cold
Cold and Flu
Take steps to protect yourself by wrapping up warm
At this time of year,
the chance of catching the flu
also increases. As well as facing
the same symptoms as a common cold, flu sufferers can also get
muscle aches and pain, a fever, a headache and a cough. The flu can
be more serious for people with heart conditions as it makes your
heart work much harder, so we recommended you talk to your GP or
practice nurse about the flu vaccine and how it can help protect
you over the winter.
As well as protecting your own health, always
remember to keep an eye on elderly and vulnerable
friends, family and neighbours during cold snaps. Make sure that
you can recognise the symptoms and signs of
a heart attack and phone 999 for an ambulance immediately if