Heart attacks happen when an artery supplying your heart with blood and oxygen becomes blocked. The symptoms can amount to a shocking display - ago
Heart attacks happen when an artery supplying your heart with blood and oxygen becomes blocked. The symptoms can amount to a shocking display – agonising chest pain that spreads to your arms, jaw, neck and tummy is common. According to a study presented at the Asian Pacific Society of Cardiology (APSC) Congress, you should be extra alert to these warning signs in the winter.
When the lowest temperature of the day was between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius, the relative incidence of acute myocardial infarction increased by 0.45 percent with each one degree of temperature drop. When the lowest temperature of the day was below 15 degrees Celsius, one degree of temperature drop was associated with a 1.6 percent of increase in the relative incidence of acute myocardial infarction in Taiwan.
Myocardial infarction or MI is the medical term for a heart attack.
Commenting on the findings, Dr Po-Jui Wu, study author and cardiologist, Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, said: “We found that the number of heart attacks (acute myocardial infarctions) fluctuated with the seasons, with more attacks occurring in winter compared to summer. Heart attacks increased dramatically when the temperature dropped below 15 degrees Celsius.”
“When the temperature drops, people at high risk of a heart attack should be put on alert for symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath.”
He added: “At-risk groups include people who had a previous heart attack, the elderly, or those with risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, and sedentary lifestyles.
“Heart attacks can cause people to die suddenly so it is essential to urgently seek medical assistance when symptoms occur.”
Other risk factors
According to the NHS, eating an unhealthy diet that is high in fat will make hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) worse and increase your risk of a heart attack.
The health body explained: “Continuing to eat high-fat foods will cause more fatty plaques to build up in your arteries.”
The worst culprits are foods that contain high levels of saturated fat.
Foods high in saturated fat include:
- Fried foods
- Sausages and fatty cuts of meat
- Ghee (a type of butter often used in Indian cooking)
- Hard cheese
- Cakes and biscuits
- Foods that contain coconut or palm oil
You should aim to follow a Mediterranean-style diet – this means eating more bread, fruit, vegetables and fish, and less meat.
Research shows that eating a Mediterranean-style diet can reduce your risk of another heart attack.