Today’s Forecast: HOT!Print
Do hot summer temperatures affect the risk of heart attack and stroke?
Hot days can pack a serious punch to the heart if you’re not prepared. Did you know that the hotter it gets, the harder your heart has to work to pump blood? Generating sweat through sweat glands (which is tough business and aided by the heart!) is designed to help cool you down. But if the heart can’t get blood pumped to the surface of the skin fast enough, this could lead to what’s known as heat stroke.
A heat stroke is very different from a typical stroke, which originates with a blockage of blood getting to the brain. A heat stroke, though, is when internal temperatures rise way above fever levels (104 degrees) and cause symptoms such as fatigue, excessive sweating, muscle cramps, increased thirst, headache, dizziness, nausea, lightheadedness and more.
Healthy, active individuals with strong hearts can handle higher temps. But if you have heart disease, or are concerned about it, know that your heart is compromised when the thermostat rises. Here are some tips for avoiding an unpleasantly hot day:
- Avoid vigorous physical activity in high heat. No task or exercise program is worth risking your life for. Make plans to complete a task when the weather cools. Move your exercise program to an indoor gym or pool.
- Stay hydrated by drinking water and sports drinks that contain electrolytes. Water is critical to all functions in your body. Electrolytes not only help balance hydration in your body, they also help keep the body’s natural electrical system that governs your heartbeat working correctly.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol. These beverages can contribute to dehydration.
- Choose a cooler environment. Switch your air conditioning on. If you don’t have air conditioning, use fans and periodically apply cool water to your skin. If your home is still not cool enough, go to an air-conditioned mall, senior center, friend’s house or library—anywhere that’s cool enough to keep your body temperature within the normal range. Also, if you are not able to leave your home, do not be shy about asking for help from friends, family, or your local town or city services.
- Wear light-colored, lightweight clothing. Light-colored clothing reflects the sun’s rays, rather than absorbing them like dark clothing. Heavy-weight fabrics trap body heat in, while lightweight fabrics allow heat to escape and better allow for your natural sweating processes to cool you off.
- Don’t go outside without sunblock. Apply sunblock before you go outside. A sunburn can make it harder for your body to stay cool.
- Stick to the shade. It is a natural sunblock and natural coolant! And a lot safer and less greasy than sunblock!1
Did you know that your fish oil likes to be kept in a cool, dry place? Some experts even recommend keeping it in your fridge or freezer for longer shelf life so the active ingredients don’t oxidize. That being said, you and your fish oil need to stay out of the heat and keep cool!