When the Weather Heats Up, Heart Patients Need to Stay Cool

Summer means more time to do the activities you love—like taking long early morning walks or working in the garden. But it’s important that you protect yourself against heat-related illness.

Heart patientsPeople with heart disease do not cool down easily in excessive heat. In addition, drugs used to treat heart conditions may make it harder for your body to cool itself by perspiring. This places you at a higher risk for heat stroke, a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body is unable to regulate its temperature.

Watch for Warning Signs

Heat stroke is an emergency. Those suffering symptoms need to move to a cool place and get medical help right away. Symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • A body temperature above 104° F
  • Red, hot, dry skin without sweating
  • A rapid, strong pulse
  • A throbbing headache
  • Dizziness, nausea, or confusion
  • Unconsciousness

A Little Prevention Goes a Long Way

You can guard against heat stroke by:

  • Being aware. Ask your doctor if your medications make you more vulnerable to heat-related illness.
  • Drinking plenty of water or fruit and vegetable juices each day. Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol, or lots of sugar. If your doctor limits your liquids, ask how much you should drink when it’s hot.
  • Wearing lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Using your air conditioner or going to air-conditioned places, such as malls, the movies, or a friend’s house. If you don’t have air-conditioning at home, open your windows at night. Cross-ventilate by opening windows on two opposite sides of the building.
  • Taking a cool shower or bath.

Love Your Heart

At WCHN, we’re proud to offer compassionate and comprehensive cardiovascular care to our community. Learn more about the services we provide: