It’s important for us all to take care of our health during hot weather, but for some people, such as people with heart disease, there are extra reasons to take care.
Studies have shown people with heart disease or people who are taking medicines for blood pressure or excess fluid, such as diuretics, are at higher risk of heat-related illnesses, heart attack and even death during extreme heat, such as a heatwave.
How does heat affect the heart?
- As the temperature rises, the body tries to adapt and balance the heat by increasing blood flow to the skin and by sweating.
- Sweating leads to dehydration, which reduces the volume of blood being pumped around the body. This makes the heart pump harder in order to circulate the reduced amount of blood around the body.
- For people with heart disease and those who are at high risk of a heart attack, these changes can overwhelm the heart and result in a heart attack.
During the summer months don’t forget to…
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Keep in touch with others
- Stay out of the sun
- Keep activity levels to a minimum
Who is most at risk?
People who are vulnerable to heat-related health issues, such as
- People with chronic disease, such as heart disease
- Older people
- Very young people
- People engaged in strenuous outdoor activity or physical labour
- People taking particular medicines that affect the way their body reacts to heat Helpful
People who are in the high risk groups should take care during a heatwave and consult their GP about the best ways to manage their condition.