Heart Patients Should Avoid Stress In Winter

Dr K K Aggarwal
Padma Shri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee
President, Heart Care Foundation of India

All heart patients should have their cardiac and mental stress levels check up done in winter. A heart attack can come with irregular meals, late nights, missing of regular dose of medicines and indulgence in smoking and drinking.

Acute stress-related events are common during winters, especially close to full moon in the early morning hours. The circadian variation in event frequency suggests that cardiac events may be triggered by external activities, particularly those activating the sympathetic nervous system.

Data from the Multicenter Investigation of the Limitation of Infarct Size (MILIS) indicated that among 849 patients with acute heart attack, 48 percent described one or more possible triggers, the most common of which was emotional upset (14 percent).

There are several mechanisms by which emotional stress might trigger an acute heart attack.

The physiologic changes that have been described in the morning period of enhanced cardiovascular risk — increase in blood pressure, heart rate, vascular tone, and platelet agreeability — also may result from mental stress. These factors may all be related to abnormalities in autonomic tone and activation of sympathetic nervous system activity, which may enhance platelet aggregation and increase the susceptibility to serious ventricular arrhythmias.

A Guide for heart patients
Keep BP < 120/80 mm hg
Maintain blood sugar levels < 90 mg%
Not to miss their regular dose of cardiac drugs, if prescribed. The morning pulse and BP should be normal.
Ask your doctor for a beta-blocker, if not contraindicated, to keep the stress under control
Say no to smoking
Say no to alcohol
Get a flu vaccine.
Avoid heavy eating.
Not to ignore any suicidal thoughts.
Have a complete medical check up done including a treadmill.