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Cold Weather, Healthy Heart

Cold Weather, Healthy Heart

March 08, 2024 Posted in: Heart & Vascular Care  2 minute read time


Protect your cardiac health this winter. When temperatures drop, keeping warm isn’t the only thing you need to think about.

“It’s very important to be aware of the cold and how it can impact your cardiac health,” said Sharat Koul, DO, FACC, FSCAI, interventional cardiologist at CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group – Cardiology. “Cold temperatures put extra stress on the heart, pushing blood pressure up.”

A Snowball Effect

In the winter, chilly temps cause blood vessels to constrict, decreasing the amount of oxygen-rich blood circulating to your heart and body. Doing strenuous activities stresses your heart, putting you at higher risk for cardiovascular events, including a heart attack. 

“Doing isometric exercises where you’re picking things up and bearing down, such as shoveling snow, can push blood pressure up significantly,” Dr. Koul said. “Ask for help when you need it. People who have been diagnosed with cardiac disease and those with cardiac risk factors are at highest risk.”

When you engage in outdoor activities in the cold, be careful not to overdo it, dress in layers and protect your head, ears, hands and feet.

“It’s easy to slide into a sedentary lifestyle when it’s cold out,” Dr. Koul said, “but it’s important to stay active year-round and not undo healthy habits established in warmer weather.” 

To make an appointment with a cardiologist, visit CHISaintJosephHealth.org/find-a-provider.

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