Living with heart disease requires careful management, especially during periods of extreme heat. High temperatures and humidity can have severe consequences for patients with high blood pressure and heart conditions.
The medical professionals at Medinet Family Care Clinic in Houston, TX, prioritize your well-being and want to provide valuable guidance on navigating the challenges posed by our city’s triple-digit heat wave.
Understanding the impact of heat on heart health
When the weather gets hotter, the body attempts to cool down by radiating heat. However, high temperatures and humidity can increase blood flow to the skin, causing the heart to beat faster and circulate more blood per minute than usual. The most significant risks occur when the temperature exceeds 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and the humidity surpasses 70%.
Those who are especially vulnerable are patients who are:
- over age 50
- have heart, lung, kidney, or circulatory conditions
- take diuretics, sedatives, or blood pressure medication
- follow a low-salt or low-sodium diet
Heat and sweating can result in fluid loss, leading to reduced blood volume and dehydration. This can impair the body's ability to regulate temperature and put additional strain on the heart. Taking precautions
Take these precautions
Follow these guidelines to protect your health:
- monitor your blood pressure regularly
- stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day, even if you aren’t thirsty
- avoid outdoor activities during the hottest hours
- seek cool environments or air-conditioned spaces
- wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing to reflect sunlight and lower body temperature
- apply sunscreen outdoors to protect your skin from harmful UV rays
- wear a hat to shield your head and face from direct sun exposure
- store medications correctly to prevent degradation due to extreme heat
- keep medications in their original containers for added protection
- consult your doctor about how your medicines may affect your response to the heat
Over 700 heat-related deaths occur in the United States annually, while an average of 9,235 people are hospitalized due to heat. Take precautions to ensure you are not among them.
Recognizing Warning Signs
Be aware of warning signs indicating your body may struggle to cope with the heat. Seek medical attention if you or a loved one experience any of the following symptoms:
- cold, clammy skin
- confusion or disorientation
- rapid pulse
- excessive sweating or an inability to sweat
- muscle cramps or spasms
- swelling in the arms or legs
Heatstroke can result in a number of complications, depending on how long the body temperature is high. Seeking medical intervention can be life-saving.
For your primary and urgent care needs, contact Medinet Family Care Clinic today. Call the Houston, Texas office, or use this site to schedule an appointment.