Winter and heart attacks—a deadly combination? Show Notes

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 Host(s): Dr. Bill Maier
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Winter can be deadly, at least when it comes to matters of the heart.

Writing for WebMD, Dr. Louise Chang says that whether you live in a place that’s warm year-round, like Arizona, or in a state with cold winters, you’re more likely to die of heart-related problems in the winter. 

Researchers found that people were 26% to 36% more like to die from a heart attack or other heart diseases in the winter than in the summer, regardless of whether they lived in a cold, moderate, or hot climate.

So what is to blame for the rise in deaths in the winter months?

For starters, people are not as healthy in winter as in the summer according to Dr. Bryan Schwartz. at the University of New Mexico. He says “Their diet is not as good, they don’t exercise as much, and they often gain weight." 

Schwartz says that Flu, respiratory infections, and depression may also play a role, and these factors may interact. For example, a person who is on cholesterol-lowering and high blood pressure medication might feel down, making them less likely to take their medication and more likely to reach for high calorie, high fat snacks.

In fact, heart disease and depression so often  go hand-in-hand that the American Heart Association recommends heart patients be routinely screened for depression.

Depression may actually induce physiological changes in the body that can be damaging to the heart.

The bottom line: Take care of your health, no matter what the month and no matter what the temperature.

For more information on the story, go to WebMD.com and enter “winter and heart attacks” in the search engine.

I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.

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