Srinagar, Nov 13: Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Saturday said winter chill increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

“You are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke during winter months,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan.

Dr Hassan said the number of heart attack and stroke patients at Kashmir hospitals doubles in winter. There is increase in number of deaths from heart attacks and strokes during winter months

“Not only elderly people, but young and healthy individuals come to hospitals with massive heart attacks and strokes and some of them are brought dead,” he said.

Dr Hassan said frigid temperatures constrict blood vessels that increase blood pressure which makes heart attack or stroke more likely.

“The blood tends to be thicker and stickier during extreme cold which makes it easier to clot,” he said.

The DAK President said this winter Covid-19 is a big factor. If you catch the virus, you are at an increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Covid-19 causes acute and severe inflammation that builds up fat deposits in the inner walls of the blood vessels. These fat deposits dislodge and get stuck in heart or brain where they block the blood flow.

“Flu of winter also heightens the risk of these cases,” he said adding lack of sunlight during winter leaves people vitamin D deficient which is associated with increased risk of dying from heart attack or stroke.

“While we can’t change the weather, we can take precautions to protect ourselves from heath risks of cold weather. Keep yourself warm to prevent from cold temperature. If you move out, dress in layers, wear a hat, gloves and scarf. Avoid going out in chill for walk and move your workout inside. Manage heart attack and stroke risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, abnormal cholesterol, and tobacco use. Take healthy diet rich in vegetables and fruits and reduce your stress. If you already have cardiovascular disease, avoid strenuous activities, such as shoveling heavy snow. Get your annual flu shot, Covid-19 vaccine and don’t forget to take your vitamin D,” said Dr Nisar.

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