People with heart diseases are severely affected by weather conditions. Patients should adapt their lifestyles, clothing styles and eating habits according to the prevailing weather conditions.
In addition, drug treatments should be rearranged in necessary patients.
It should not be forgotten that hot and humid weather creates serious health problems for heart patients. It should be known that it creates an increased risk especially for patients with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, rhythm disorders and heart failure. One of the most important mechanisms that keeps body temperature constant is the blood circulation of the skin. The veins that feed the skin try to reduce or increase the heat loss in the body by contracting in the cold and expanding in the heat. This requires the heart to work harder. In patients with heart failure, directing blood flow predominantly to the skin may lead to a decrease in blood flow to vital organs. In addition, increased heart load, increased heart rate, vascular stenosis can cause worsening of their condition in valvular patients and people with heart failure. The human body is cooled by the skin, which works like an air conditioner, while the increased blood flow and evaporation occur during sweating on the skin, the skin underneath and the circulating blood are cooled.
As the humidity of the air increases, evaporation decreases and the cooling mechanism deteriorates. Hot flashes, suffocation and sweating are related to the deterioration of sweating. In addition, sweating to maintain the temperature balance also affects the salt and fluid balance of the body. This causes serious problems for those with heart disease. The decrease in the volume of fluid circulating in the veins causes a decrease in the fluidity of the blood and the amount of blood passing through the kidneys. This can lead to deterioration in kidney functions if not enough fluid is taken. Substances secreted from the kidneys and adrenal glands to compensate for this can cause the vessels to constrict and increase the signs of heart failure with sudden rises in blood pressure.
It is very important for patients with hypertension and those who use diuretics to take adequate fluids. Otherwise, sudden drops in blood pressure and deterioration in kidney functions may occur. In addition, some patients who use calcium channel blockers as a blood pressure reducer have an increase in swelling in their legs and ankles with heat. Patients in this situation should pay a little more attention to salt restriction. Since hypertension is a disease that usually does not cause any complaints, most patients are not aware of changes in blood pressure. It is useful to monitor the changes in blood pressure more closely, especially during seasonal changes. Therefore, patients with high blood pressure should consult their doctor to avoid any problems during the summer months. Thus, the drug use of these patients can be rearranged for the summer period if deemed necessary by their physicians.
On extremely hot and humid days, the number of people who have a heart attack or die due to cardiovascular disease increases. Observational studies conducted during the years of extreme heat waves have shown that especially the elderly and patients with co-morbidities are more affected.
It is possible to list some basic measures to be taken in order to prevent the hot weather from negatively affecting the functioning of the metabolism and to spend the summer months as follows:
- In summer, choose light-colored, comfortable and loose clothes made of fabric that does not increase sweating.
- Avoid heavy, oily meals, try to eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruits at small and frequent intervals.
- Especially when the sun is steep, you should not walk outdoors and if you are drinking alcohol, you should definitely not drink alcohol outdoors under the sun during the hours when the sun’s rays are steep.
- In summer, the daily fluid requirement increases to 2-3 liters. Take care to consume 2.5-3 liters of water a day in summer.
- Caution should be exercised in the consumption of soda and mineral water. Uncontrolled consumption of mineral water and soda may increase blood pressure, as well as cause symptoms of heart failure to appear or worsen.
- Use salt in line with your doctor’s advice, as the loss of electrolytes, especially sodium, will be high in our body with sweat.
- Enter the sea on an empty stomach in the morning and evening hours, do not sunbathe on the sand, swim in the sea parallel to the shore and do not swim in the open.
- Before you go on a long trip, make sure to have your heart checks done.
- Check with your doctor to arrange your hypertension medications according to the summer.