Chilling news: Heart attacks shoot up in winter

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New Delhi, Jan 9 (UNI) Winter brings chilling news for heart patients with doctors warning that cardiac attacks could rise as temperatures dip.

Emphasising the health hazards of cold weather, a study has revealed that the period between December 25 and January 25 is the most dangerous time as far as heart attacks are concerned.

'' The heart has to work harder in winters because blood vessels constrict to help the body maintain heat, also respiratory diseases such as flu and asthma are on a high in the season, which causes a load on the heart and also because of blood pressure,'' said Dr Umesh Gupta, senior cardiologist at the Umkal hospital.

Hospitals in the city witnessed a 25-30 per cent increase in heart ailments last year ''During the cold season, people tend to consume more alcohol in order to keep warm, which also aggravates pressure on the heart,'' he added.

As a precautionary measure, he asked heart patients to avoid outdoor exercises and reduce alcohol consumption.

Health experts said Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) was also one of the negative effects of winter.

''Seasonal affective disorder, commonly termed winter blues is a kind of depression acquired due to lack of exposure to sunlight,'' said Dr Samir Parikh, psychiatrist Max Healthcare.

The cold weather spells bad news for arthritis patients with Dr Sanjay Sarup of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital warning that the chill had an adverse effect on the knees and bones.

''Patients with Osteoarthritis complain of greater pain during winter months especially in the morning..also they tend to exercise less which adds to their woes.'' The other typical winter ailments include influenza and skin problems.

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