Heat And Heart Failure| 7 Tips to Protect Your Heart This Summer

Farma Darya

The brutal summer this year has proven to be challenging for people across the country. With temperatures soaring to nearly 50 degrees Celsius in parts of the country, the heatwave has affected everyone, however, it has been especially difficult on heart failure patients. High temperatures put more pressure on the heart to work harder, thus making the summers more challenging for heart failure patients.Also Read – Skincare Tips: Neck Lines And Wrinkles? Follow These Simple And Effective Tips – Watch Video

How does the weather affect the heart?

Human bodies perform ‘homeostasis’, i.e., self-regulation of temperature. Regardless of external conditions, we have a constant bodily temperature between 36.1 to 37.2 degrees Celsius. In the summer, as our surroundings get warmer, our body tries to keep our internal temperature uniform, which puts extra strain on the heart. A patient with heart failure has stiffened and poorly functioning heart muscles, which are vulnerable to worsening health conditions. The fluid-volume status is a key determinant of keeping the heart-failure patient in remission. A change in fluid-volume status, arising from either excessive fluid loss due to sweating or through excessive fluid or salt consumption, can be harmful. The effect of certain medicines, like water pills (diuretics), may also need to be reconsidered during the summer season, in consultation with the prescribing doctor. Also Read – Weight Loss Diet Video: From Chickpeas to Dahi, Foods That Will Help You Lose Weight – Watch

Know how to beat the heat

The heatwave can certainly be a daunting challenge; however, it is not insurmountable. Heart failure patients can succeed in preventing further deterioration of their health by keeping these points in mind: Also Read – Top 5 Food Combinations You Must Avoid Eating If You Want To Get In Shape – Watch

  1. Monitoring fluid intake: Intense heat dehydrates the body and saps it of vital fluids and electrolytes. Heart patients must stay adequately hydrated, as dehydration can constrict blood vessels and put additional pressure on the heart. At the same time, they must be wary of excessive fluid intake since they already have high water and fluid retention in the body because of their condition.
  2. Reviewing their diet: Patients must carefully monitor their salt intake and avoid tobacco, alcohol and caffeinated drinks. The intake of fresh fruits and vegetables may be increased as they are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals. Apart from table salt, seasoning with herbs, spices, herbed vinegar, and fruit juices should be avoided to minimize salt intake. It may be useful to check the label of packaged foods, for sodium content.
  3. Avoiding excessive exercise: While exercise is a vital part of keeping healthy, one must not overdo it. Moreover, exercising in the summer may enhance the loss of fluids owing to the hot weather. Physical activity is important, but patients must adopt a sustainable exercise regimen post consultation with their doctor.
  4. Wear loose clothing: Patients should opt for loose, comfortable clothing as they allow easier passage of air and allow better movement and flexibility.
  5. Have someone close check in on you: If patients live alone, they must ensure someone close, say a friend or neighbour, checks on them regularly to ensure that they are safe and healthy.
  6. Regular visits to the doctor and adherence to prescribed medications: For heart failure patients, regular consultations with the doctor are very important. Furthermore, recent years have seen innovation take centre stage in heart failure management, leading to the emergence of new drugs that not only improve/treat symptoms but also prolong the lifespan. Thus, following and sticking to the prescribed medications by the doctor is highly recommended
  7. Keep your surroundings cool: Patients must try to keep their surroundings cool and avoid going out in the sun during the afternoons. While sleeping, they should choose the coolest area in their home to do so.
    Paying attention to the above measures, leading a stress-free lifestyle, and consulting with your doctors on a regular basis can go a long way in keeping you healthy and happy!

(Inputs by Dr Shraddha Bhure, Medical Director at Boehringer Ingelheim India) 


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