The heart is at risk with the cold weather. Low temperatures are associated with an increased risk of a heart attack: for each drop of 10°C, the chances of suffering a heart attack increase by 7%. This figure comes from a study by a researcher at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, and it was presented at the last annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology in London.

The cardiologist examined the effects of the climate of the Canadian region where he works, on the health of the heart. The city of Winnipeg, in fact, is characterized by harsh winters, and temperatures that often reach below zero, with hot and dry summers. In the research that took place in Winnipeg there were a little more than 1800 cases of acute myocardial infarction STEMI were assessed, due to the comprehensive and stable occlusion of the coronary vessel.

On days with colder temperatures the risk of heart attacks is greater, claims the research

The observation period of the research was six years. During this time the data were collected on the maximum, minimum and average temperature, on the day when the heart attack struck and the two days before. On days with temperatures below 0°C the rate of heart attacks was 0.94 per day, greater than the 0.78 registered when the temperatures exceeded 0.

With reference to the entire period of observation, the researcher emphasizes that the risk of heart attack increases by 7% for each 10°C of decrease in temperature. According to the Cardiology department at the Canadian University, temperatures could help predict the risk of heart attack STEMI even one or two days prior to the event.

The association between cold and cardiovascular health is already known, but now it is a scientific confirmation. “The doctors know this well: The peak is reached when the winter is particularly cold leading to numerous arrivals in the emergency department for incidents of heart attack” – says Dr. Maddalena Lettino, head of the Unit of Cardiology for Heart Failure at Humanitas.



Why is the cold bad for the heart?

“With the low temperatures increases the peripheral vasoconstriction in an attempt to preserve the body’s temperature and the hypertensive blood pressure can go up even more; all this significantly increases the work of the heart. In addition, in individuals with latent coronary heart disease, there is a higher probability that people may experience destabilization with the consequent development of acute coronary thrombosis and a heart attack.”

(For further information see here: Women, heart attack is more dangerous because they do not know the symptoms )

In the prevention of a heart attack, we must also consider the cold temperatures?

“Cardiovascular prevention is always recommended, regardless of the temperature. When it is really cold, it is recommended to not only limit the exposure to the harsh climate as much as possible, but also to avoid fatigue and making significant physical efforts,” – concludes the specialist.