As the winter chill sets in, researchers warn that the risk of heart attacks surges, particularly during the early morning hours between 4 am and 10 am. This alarming trend is attributed to the heightened levels of hormones such as Epinephrine, Norepinephrine, and Cortisol during this time frame, leading to an increase in blood pressure and oxygen demand. Additionally, lower levels of endothelial cells further elevate the risk of a heart attack. The winter season exacerbates this peril, especially for individuals grappling with high blood pressure, diabetes, or lung problems. Health experts advocate caution, suggesting that those at risk should steer clear of morning workouts and early morning strolls.
One of the primary culprits behind the increased risk during winter mornings is the constriction of blood vessels due to the cold. The frigid temperatures cause these vessels to shrink, impeding the smooth flow of blood and subsequently elevating blood pressure. The heart is compelled to work harder to pump blood, placing individuals at a higher risk of heart-related complications. This strain can lead to angina, characterized by chest pain. In severe cases, angina may escalate into a full-blown heart attack.
To mitigate the risk of heart attacks during winter, health professionals recommend adopting a holistic approach. Here are some key practices to incorporate into your daily routine:
Adequate Sleep: Aim for a full eight hours of sleep. Quality sleep promotes heart health and reduces the risk of heart attacks.
Morning Walks on Grass: Commence your day with a barefoot walk on grass. This not only imparts tranquility and positive energy but also aids in regulating blood pressure.
Balanced Breakfast: Never skip breakfast, a vital component for heart health. Opt for a nutritious diet comprising fruits, sprouts, and milk.
Regular Exercise: Engage in regular physical activities, particularly during the morning. Exercise boosts energy levels throughout the day.
Quality Time with Loved Ones: Spend meaningful time with family and friends to alleviate stress and enhance mental well-being, which is crucial for heart health.
Avoid Smoking and Limit Alcohol: Minimize or eliminate smoking and alcohol consumption, as these habits can be detrimental to heart health.
Morning Meditation: Incorporate morning meditation into your routine. It fosters peace of mind and contributes to overall mental well-being. Routine Heart Checkups: Regular heart checkups are imperative. Timely identification of issues allows for prompt intervention and treatment. By adhering to these measures, individuals can fortify their health during winter, substantially reducing the risk of heart attacks. A purposeful and health-conscious morning routine lays the foundation for a vibrant and heart-healthy life.
The author is Director & Head of the Department in Department-Interventional Cardiology at Sanar International Hospitals.