If you've seen this week's forecast, you're aware that high temperatures are in our future. The heat can be tough on anyone, but individuals diagnosed with heart disease should be especially careful.
High temperatures can increase the risk of heat-related illness and cardiovascular stress, which can lead to:
- Shortness of breath,
- Angina - chest pain or discomfort
- Cardiac arrest
- Heart attack
Our bodies naturally regulate temperature in two ways, both of which add stress to the heart and can lead to heat-related illness:
Increased blood flow - the heart pumps faster and harder as it circulates more blood to the skin in an attempt to cool it from the heat. For individuals with heart disease, this added stress on the heart can cause major concerns.
Sweating - sweat pulls heat from the body, and cools our internal temperature as it evaporates. But sweating also pulls other minerals from the body and muscles and can quickly lead to dehydration, muscle cramps and heat stroke.
Several medications interfere with the body's ability to regulate heat, including beta blockers, diuretics, and calcium channel blockers - three common classes of drugs that are used to treat heart-related illnesses like coronary artery disease, heart failure, angina and hypertension.
UnityPoint Health - Des Moines wants you to stay safe and beat the heat with these 3 tips:
If you or a loved one experiences heat-related illness, stroke or heart complications, our emergency care and My UnityPoint Nurse services are available 24/7 to assist you. At UnityPoint Health - Des Moines, we offer the help you need to stay cool and healthy though this heat wave!
- Stay Cool! Stay indoors in a cooled or air-conditioned environment, as much as possible. If you don't have air conditioning, stay cool with family or at a neighbor's house, or plan an activity somewhere with air-conditioning. Movie theaters, grocery stores and community centers are great places to escape the heat.
- Stay Hydrated! Drink plenty of water and eat healthy, fluid-filled foods to avoid dehydration and heat-related illness or stroke. Coffee, caffeinated drinks and alcohol can cause dehydration, so be sure to reach for water instead.
- Stay Connected! It's very important to communicate with friends and family - especially seniors and children- during high temperatures. If someone you know is home alone, check in frequently to make sure their health has not been compromised in any way. Sometimes homes lose power due to extreme heat, causing the inside temp to change quickly. If someone is home alone, it could go unnoticed until it's too late.