Protecting Your Heart In The Heat

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With mercury rising across many regions in the globe, we have now more than just the sunburn to be worried about. During hot weather conditions, our body controls the core temperature by sweating and increasing the blood flow to the skin. And it is during this process, the heart pumps faster leading to a drop in blood pressure. In such a situation, an individual with severe heart trouble may succumb to Hyperthermia ” a condition where the body temperature shoots above the normal level, because the heart may not be able to do the extra work needed to keep the body cool. Hence, excessive heat during a high level of humidity has the potential to send the bodys defense mechanism into overdrive causing heat exhaustion, eventually leading to heatstroke. Also, vigorous activity or exercise in hot weather adds to the dramatic increase of stress level on your heart. For every degree rise in the bodys internal temperature, the heart starts beating about 10 beats per minute faster.

The body dissipates in extra heat that gets generated in two ways ” by emitting warmth and sweating. Since the body emits heat through the blood flowing in the arteries and veins, so on a hot day, the cardiovascular mechanism pushes more than harder than usual to keep cool the body. So, during hot weather, the heart has to beat faster, pump harder and may circulate blood Two to Four times more leading to perspiration and strain on the cardiovascular system.

Excessive heat condition carries a risk element for all but is dangerous if an individual has experienced heart failure or under blood pressure medications, then they need to be extra watchful about their health. 

Difference Between Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion:

These are basically medical terms describing the effect excessive heat has on an individual that subdue the bodys fighting mechanism. Though there is a difference between the two, both can turn life-threatening if not addressed in time. While heatstroke is severe overheating of the body, heat exhaustion is when the body is moderately overheated. Heat exhaustion is a form of heat sickness that can lead to heatstroke which requires immediate medical intervention. 

Following listed are most of the symptoms that occur in either of the cases

  • Rapid pulse rate
  • Headaches
  • Dry and hot skin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Shallow breathing

What To Do In case of A Heat Stroke or Heat Exhaustion

  • Cooling blankets and ice packs or a bath in cold water is known as effective in lowering the temperature immediately
  • Rehydrate with plenty of fluids. 
  • Avoid sugar-based drinks and instead opt for salt-based ones. If for any medical condition you cannot intake salt-based fluids, check with your doctor for a replacement drink
  • In case there is no improvement in the condition, reach out to the nearest medical facility immediately 

Though most people would be perfectly fine if only they keep themselves going on plenty of fluids. For an individual who has undergone some heart trauma, the extreme heat may place an additional burden on the heart and circulation. Heatstroke prevention is critical for elderly people suffering from heart ailments and children during extreme weather conditions.

Moreover, it is important to pay attention to the signals our body sends out. But again, there is no need to panic, immediately contact your doctor for ensuring accurate diagnosis and timely action for heatstroke treatment.

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