How the Summer Heat Can Impact Your Heart Health
Summer can bring special concerns for patients living with heart disease. Heat can be hard on your heart, and you may need to make some changes to the way you exercise and otherwise enjoy the great outdoors. Talk to your doctor at the heart hospital about any special precautions you should take. Here are some of the ways that the heat of summer can take a toll on your heart.
Increased Sensitivity to Heat
Medications can impact the way you react to heat. For patients with heart disease, medications like calcium channel blockers, ace inhibitors, and beta blockers can increase your sensitivity to heat and make you more prone to heat-related illnesses. Talk to your heart doctor about your medications and find out if any of them could make you more sensitive to the heat, so you can be vigilant about symptoms and adjust your activities accordingly.
Increased Heart Pumping
Your heart plays a central role in your body’s temperature regulation system. When you’re hot, your body radiates heat to the air to cool you down by rerouting blood flow to your skin. To reroute this blood, your heart has to pump harder, and the hotter you are, the harder your heart pumps. In fact, your heart may pump up to four times more blood each minute than it does when temperatures are cool. If you have had a heart attack, the damage left behind may leave your heart unable to pump enough to effectively cool your body, so ask your doctor if it is safe to exercise outside.
Increased Mineral Loss
The sweat that helps your body cool down also represents a loss of minerals that your cardiovascular system needs to function properly. Sweat contains potassium and sodium, which your muscles need to contract. Because your medications may also cause mineral loss, your heart doctor may want you to curb your outside activity.
The physicians at the heart hospital of Regional Medical Center of San Jose can help stay heart healthy in the summer months and all year long. If you’re suffering from a cardiovascular problem , request a referral to one of the physicians at our San Jose heart hospital by calling (408) 259-4000.