Bundle Up!

As we make our way to the winter months in beautiful Ocala, FL, we’re constantly reminded of the usual traditions and feelings that accompany the Autumn and Winter seasons. The supermarkets stock up on their pumpkins and turkeys while the department stores begin to display their various holiday decorations and knickknacks, reminding us of the time for family, fun and feasting.

These months also bring cooler temperatures. A time to bring out our light jackets and sweaters that serves as a refreshing break from the sweltering summer heat. And let not fool ourselves… in the Ocala, in the winter, there can be days, weeks or even a full month where we would need to bring out a winter coat. It can get COLD.

However, did you know that colder temperatures can affect your cardiovascular health? One study showed that 53 percent more cases of heart attack were reported in the winter as opposed to the summer, according to information found in the National Registry of Myocardial Infarction.

Unsurprisingly, the elderly are most likely to experience changes in health due to cooler temperatures. According to an article posted on heart.org, the American Heart Association website, “as people age, their ability to maintain a normal internal body temperature often decreases. Because elderly people seem to be relatively insensitive to moderately cold conditions, they can suffer hypothermia without knowing they’re in danger.” Additionally, anyone with heart disease can also be at risk. Colder temperatures can cause chest pain or discomfort in people with coronary heart disease and can increase the risk of heart attack due to overexertion.

As with anything involving cooler temperatures and health issues, the first step is to dress warmly and in layers. Avoiding alcoholic beverages before heading out into the cold, or while outside, is also a good idea as alcohol gives the feeling of warmth, but actually draws heat away from vital organs.

Of course, your local cardiologist, such as the doctors at Cardiovascular Institute of Central Florida, can answer any questions you have regarding proper heart health during winter time.