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How to Beat the Heat to Protect Your Heart Health

May 18, 2018
What You Need to Know About Your Heart and Heat

Hot, humid weather can be especially hard on people with a heart condition. The extra work for the heart, compounded by the loss of sodium and potassium from sweating, can cause trouble if not managed correctly. For instance, blood pressure may drop because there is an increase of blood flow to the skin, and dehydration can cause dizziness or falls. Fortunately, making some simple choices can keep you cool and keep your heart from overstressing when the temperatures rise.

Time Things Right

Evening and early morning are the best times to get out, because it is usually cooler. Avoid going outside during the hottest times of day, midday to late afternoon. If you exercise, drink more fluids than you usually do.

Find Cool Places

Chilled air is the best way to beat the heat. When the air is as warm as you are, sitting in front of a fan isn’t very helpful. If you don’t have an air conditioner, spend a couple of hours in a movie theater, at a store, or at an air-conditioned neighbor’s house. Taking a cool shower or bath, or putting a cold, wet cloth or ice pack under your arm or on your neck, can also cool you off.

Drink to Your Health

Staying hydrated is especially important for a well-functioning heart. When the body is hydrated, it helps the heart pump blood through the blood vessels more easily. When you’re dehydrated, you have an increased risk of blood clots, because the blood is thicker and more concentrated. This can increase blood pressure. In addition, when you are dehydrated, the volume of blood in your body decreases. As a result, your heart beats faster, increasing your heart rate and causing you to feel palpitations. All of these things are not good for a compromised heart.

Eat Light

Stick with smaller meals that don’t overload your stomach. Cold soups, salads, and fruits can satisfy your hunger and give you extra fluid.