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Doctors: Cold weather increases your risk of a heart attack

GOSHEN, Ind. --- As the temperatures drop this weekend…. Your risk for a heart attack goes up!
For anyone who will be out there shoveling snow from the driveway, doctors warn that if you already have heart issues that type of physical activity out in the cold could pose some problems.

Mix the cold temperatures with any type of exertion, walking the dog, shoveling snow, or scraping the windshield and even in perfect health, your heart rate and blood pressure levels will shoot up.

 “Right off the bat, if you’re out in the cold, your work load is greater,” Dr. Blair MacPhail, an Interventional Cardiologist at Goshen Hospital, said.

People with heart disease may not be able to compensate for their body’s higher demand for oxygen when outdoors in freezing temperatures.

“We do see a lot more people come in for heart attacks when the temperatures are colder, because they’ve been out shoveling snow, using their snow board and the weather makes it a greater work load,” MacPhail said.

Even in perfect health, being outside in the cold affects your heart.

“Someone who exercises all the time and doesn’t have any symptoms and feels pretty good, they should be able to go out and do activity but just be aware they’re going to see a bigger change in their heart rate and blood pressure than they normally would see,” MacPhail said. “It’s important that people don’t go out and push it hard in these extremes.”

If you do have a heart condition, it’s important to pay attention to any symptoms for heart trouble; Shortness of breath, chest pains, fatigue and a lot of sweating can all be signs you should see a doctor.

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