People especially associate summer and tropical heat with heart attacks, but winter is also a risk for cardiac patients. According to studies, the risk increases by up to seven percent during this period. What is behind this and who is the most threatened group?
Dress properly so you don’t have a heart attack. It may seem like a funny remark, but for cardiac patients, temperature fluctuations and winter weather can be really risky, especially December and January. In addition to the temperatures, the Christmas holidays also play a role, which for some bring with them an increased level of stress and a dinner table full of unhealthy food, which are aspects that can lead to some of the cardiovascular diseases.
If a person is being treated for any of the diseases of the heart and blood vessels, then they know what to watch out for, but a heart attack can come completely unexpectedly. “Risk factors have no symptoms, which is both an advantage and a disadvantage. The most common are high blood pressure, cholesterol and high blood sugar,” explains internist Michal Vrablík. These diseases tend to be symptomless and the only way to detect them is through regular preventive check-ups with a general practitioner, which a person is entitled to once every two years.
According to Vrablík, 100 percent of heart attacks cannot be prevented, but it is possible to reduce their occurrence, and it is also possible to postpone them until an older age. “Most of them occur during the productive age, the median is 65 years, which means that more of them are passed before,” says Vrablík, adding that the age at which a person suffers their first heart attack has decreased slightly, and in the long term it ranges between 63 and 65 years .
Professor Michal Vrablík
Professor Michal Vrablík is a doctor and scientist, author of many professional publications.
He works as a professor at III. internal clinic of the 1st Faculty of Medicine of Charles University and the General University Hospital in Prague.
He deals with lipidology and preventive cardiology. He is the expert guarantor of the Heart in the Head project.
At the same time, prevention is not that complicated. In addition to the mentioned medical checks, which can reveal possible dangers, family history can also tell a lot. Fifty percent of the risk comes from genetic makeup.
It is not necessary to undergo relatively expensive genetic tests, just look at your relatives. If several people in the family had a stroke or heart attack at a younger age, we should investigate what was behind it. Then the chance increases that we will prevent problems ourselves. “Family anamnesis is the cheapest genetic examination,” says Professor Vrablík.
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And how is a heart attack diagnosed? Chest pain that does not go away is typical. In addition to it, a person may feel pain or pressure in the lower jaw or neck. The pain can also shoot to the back, the patient feels pressure on the chest. Less specific symptoms include increased shortness of breath, sweating. However, there may be different and more difficult to detect symptoms in women. There, the patient often does not even know that she has undergone it. These include extreme fatigue, nausea, dizziness, loss of appetite.
How to prevent a heart attack in winter? Does it make sense to toughen up or do sports, which is sometimes considered to prevent cardiovascular diseases? Listen to the latest episode of MUDr.ování in the player at the very beginning of the article.
Conversations about health with a healthy perspective. Publicists Lucie Šilhová and Marie Irová interview doctors and other experts in the MUDr.ování podcast and, with their help, find answers to questions that interest most of us. Every Wednesday at 11:00 on Proženy.cz, on Podcasty.cz and in all podcast applications such as Spotify and Apple Podcasts.