Heart Disease and Hot Weather

Summertime heat affects everyone, but for people who suffer from heart disease, it can be life threatening. Activities that are performed when the weather is mild may not have much risk associated with them but once the temperature rises they can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. People with heart disease are very susceptible to extreme weather conditions.

When we are exposed to the heat, our bodies respond by sweating, which is the body’s way to maintain a normal temperature. . Heat as well as the body’s response to it, leads to enlarged blood vessels, lower blood pressure and higher heart rate. This combination can cause people with heart problems to serious problems due to the stress on the cardiovascular system. If the heart is already weakened it may not be able to pump blood effectively and keep the blood pressure at a high enough level. This can lead to an overheating of the body. Some medications that are prescribed for heart patients also lower the heart rate, which can be compounded during the hot weather.

Some helpful tips for people with heart disease in the hot weather are:

  • Stay out of the heat during the middle of the day
  • Wear clothing that is loose fitting and light
  • Do not perform strenuous activities in hot weather
  • Keep hydrated and avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • Stay indoors in an air conditioned environment

Discuss with your physician ways to stay healthy during the hot summer months. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a cardiologist at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-206-6742.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Ways To Prevent Heart Disease

Heart Health Queens

Cardiovascular disease is a general term that describes a wide range of conditions that affect your heart’s ability to function normally and pump blood to the rest of your body.

If your heart is not working properly, it can lead to serious complications such as heart attack or stroke.

There are several risk factors that can increase your chances of developing complications associated with cardiovascular disease. Some factors such as age or family history are non-modifiable, meaning they cannot be changed. However, there are others that are modifiable and can be changed to lower your risk of developing disease. Modifiable risk factors include tobacco use, lack of exercise, stress, a poor diet and medication adherence. Here are some tips on how you can reduce these risks and prevent heart disease:

1. Exercise Regularly – The American Heart Association recommends including 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, 5 days a week, in your routine. This will help to keep your heart muscle strong.
2. Eat Healthy – Make sure to eat lots of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Avoid fatty foods and salt. One of the recommended diets to help prevent heart disease is the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.
3. Stop Smoking – Smoking can damage your blood vessels and raise your blood pressure which increases your chances of having a heart attack.
4. Reduce Your Stress – Stress can also raise your blood pressure and put a strain on your heart. One of the ways to reduce stress is practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga. If you feel your stress is too much to handle on your own, talk to your primary care doctor or a mental health professional.
5. Properly Manage Other Medical Conditions – Having high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes put you at a much greater risk for heart disease. Make sure you take medications that your doctor prescribed to manage these conditions.

Making an appointment for an annual physical with your primary care doctor can also lower your risk. Annual visits can help your doctor detect the early signs of heart disease. Your doctor can talk to you about your risk factors and help you to begin living and maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle. You should see a doctor immediately if you begin to experience symptoms such as chest pain, fainting, shortness of breath or irregular heartbeat. These are often indicators of serious heart-related problems that require urgent medical attention.

To speak with a Family Medicine doctor about heart disease, please call (718) 206-6942.

Nikki Joseph D.O.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What is AFib?

Atrial fibrillation (AFib for short) is a condition where the heart beats in an irregular or quivering manner. Some people who have AFib describe the condition as feeling as if their heart skips a beat or is banging up against their chest wall, while others claim to experience no symptoms at all. According to the American Heart Association, it is estimated that over 2.7 million Americans live with AFib.

Cardiogram and heart

Under normal conditions, your heart pumps blood from the top chambers, (atria) to the bottom chambers, (ventricles) in a coordinated rhythm. But for those with AFib, the electrical signals that control this system are off-kilter. Instead of working together, the atria are out of sync. The result is a fast, fluttering heartbeat.

If left untreated, AFib can lead to blood clots, stroke, or other heart-related complications, including heart failure.

In addition to feeling as if your heart is fluttering, other signs of AFib include:

  • General fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath and anxiety
  • Weakness
  • Faintness or confusion
  • Fatigue when exercising
  • Sweating
  • Chest pain or pressure

Anyone can have AFib, but it’s more common in people who are 60 or older or those with other heart problems or past heart surgeries. Family history as well as other underlying health conditions, such as hypertension, thyroid disease, diabetes, chronic lung disease, obesity or sleep apnea may also contribute to the onset of AFib. Taking certain medication, smoking, and alcohol consumption can also raise the risk of AFib.

Treating AFib begins with proper diagnosis through a thorough examination which includes providing a comprehensive medical history and participating in a variety of tests, including an EKG, ECG or possibly an electrophysiology study.

If AFib is diagnosed, the goal for you and your doctor is to restore your heart to a normal rhythm and manage your risk factors of developing a stroke or other cardiac issues. This can be achieved through a variety of treatment options, including medications, as well as both surgical and nonsurgical interventions. Together you and your doctor can determine the best course of treatment.

If you are experiencing a fluttering heart, speak to your doctor immediately. If you do not have a doctor, yo make make an appointment at Jamaica Hospital’s Cardiology at 718-206-7100.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.