Monday, 3 Oct 2022

Angina could be affected by hot weather, charity warns – ‘You can be at greater risk’

Europe faces wildfires and drought after heatwave

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According to the charity the British Heart Foundation (BHF), the heat can have an adverse effect on the heart. This is because the body will be working harder to maintain a “normal” core temperature level, putting extra strain on the organs. “This means that you can be at greater risk if you have a heart condition,” it explains.

People living with angina are among those who could be affected.

Angina is chest pain, which occurs when there is reduced blood flow to the heart muscles.

Although it’s not usually a fatal condition, it is an indicator that you are vulnerable to a heart attack or stroke.

Many sufferers of angina will use a type of medicine called glyceryl trinitrate, or GTN, to treat it.

The NHS says: “It can help stop chest pain if an angina attack has already started.

“It can also help to prevent them from starting.”

However, those who use GTN should take “extra care” in the heat.

“If you use a GTN spray to control your angina you should take extra care in hot weather,” the BHF says.

“GTN spray can dilate your blood vessels quickly, which causes your blood pressure to suddenly drop and you may feel faint.”

High temperatures can also be dangerous if you have heart failure – meaning your heart doesn’t pump blood around your body as well as it should

The BHF adds: “If you’ve been told to restrict your fluid intake, speak to your GP about other ways to keep cool during summer.

“If you take water tablets and are dizzy or light headed let your doctor know.

“Your medication can then be reviewed or adapted as necessary.”

To look after your heart in the heat the BHF says drinking plenty of fluids will “stop your blood pressure from dropping too much”.

It also recommends you:

  • Avoid drinking too many alcoholic drinks
  • Enjoy cold foods, such as salads and fruit
  • Try to keep your home cool when you’re staying indoors
  • Spend time in the coolest part of your house, especially for sleeping
  • Wear light, loose fitting clothes
  • Stay out of the sun in the hottest part of the day between 11am and 3pm
  • Avoid extreme physical exercise.

Symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • Sweating
  • Cold clammy skin
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Heat rash
  • Swelling in the ankles
  • Shallow or fast breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting.

If you suspect that you or someone else has heat stroke, get medical attention immediately.

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