Heat plus heart disease can equal cardiac arrest
Summer is coming and temperatures are rising. People are spending more time outdoors. But is everyone equally safe outside when temps are high? People with Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) or congenital heart defects are at greater risk of cardiac arrest during periods of high or extreme heat. This is due to the heart’s inability to work harder to keep the body cool. Overexerting yourself when the weather is hot can lead to heat exhaustion and even heat stroke. Though heat exhaustion is relatively easy to treat, if untreated it can progress to heat stroke, can be dangerous and may require the need for CPR. Many medications prescribed for heart disease such as diuretics lower the volume of water in the body so it is important to speak to your doctor before spending a significant amount of time outdoors in extreme heat.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
Symptoms of Heat Stroke
Fever of 104 F or greater
Changes in mental status or behavior, such as confusion, agitation, slurred speech
Hot, dry skin or heavy sweating
Nausea and vomiting
5 tips for staying safe in the heat if you have heart disease
Because you already have established heart disease, you are at higher risk for heat exhaustion or even life-threatening heat stroke when you are out in extreme temperatures. Here are 5 ways you can avoid putting yourself at risk.
Stay hydrated with sports drinks that contain electrolytes or drink plenty of water
Avoid rigorous physical activity outdoors
Wear the appropriate, light-weight clothing and make sure to apply sunscreen
Stay indoors during early afternoon hours when the sun is at its strongest