What's the difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest?
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Overheating usually results from prolonged physical exertion in high temperatures, which increases the risk of potentially deadly heatstrokes. But it can also place a substantial burden on the heart according to experts. Three drinks may exacerbate the issue by hindering the passage of water from the digestive system to the bloodstream.
Heat illness typically presents itself in three stages, starting with cramping that results from a loss of essential water and sodium.
This dehydration eventually paves the way to heat exhaustion, which is a precursor for heatstroke.
According to Harvard Health, this can be perilous for individuals with chronic conditions, including heart problems.
At high temperatures, the heart pumps harder and beats faster to help the body shed heat.
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“Not only does exposure to high heat increase the risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke, but it can also place a particular burden on heart health,” explains Harvard Health.“This can increase the chance of heart attacks, heart arrhythmias and heart failure.”
Doctor Arron Berstein, interim director of the Centre for Climate, Health and the Global Environment at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, suggests Climate Change may be putting many at the peril of heart problems.
He noted: “Climate change is giving us more, and unprecedented heat that can be deadly, especially for people with heart disease.”
To offset the risk of heart complications, the experts recommend drinking at least eight ounces of water every 20 minutes in hot weather.“Never wait until you’re thirsty to drink,” added Doctor Berstein.
“Soda and fruit juice may slow the passage of water from the digestive system to the bloodstream.
“While research is limited, some studies have found that excessive alcohol intake may raise the risk for heatstroke during scorching weather.”
Certain medications have also been known to pose risks when outdoor temperatures climb.
“For example, beta-blockers slow the heartbeat and hinder the heart’s ability to circulate blood fast enough for effective heat exchange,” notes Harvard Health.
“Diuretics (water pills) increase during output and raise the risk of dehydration.”
How to reduce heat illness
According to Harvard Health, the application of sunscreen can reduce the risk of sunburns, which affects the body’s ability to cool down and increases dehydration.
It adds that heatstroke can be remedied with cold water, but it is imperative to treat the ailment as soon as symptoms emerge.
Failure to do so can lead to permanent damage to the brain and other vital organs warns the Mayo Clinic.
The condition is the body’s response to an excessive loss of water and salt through excessive sweating.
Four main signs of the condition are headache, nausea, dizziness and weakness.
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