More Heart Attacks Happen in Cold Weather


This is something to keep in mind.

Here at the Almanac, we love predicting weather. It is so important to so many lives on a daily basis, from farmers to trawler workers to builders. But now, doctors need to take note of the weather too.

Cold weather has now been associated with a higher risk of severe heart attack. This is according to research presented by Dr Shuangbo Liu, adult cardiologist and resident at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada.

The six-year study found that each 10°C drop in temperature was associated with a 7% increased risk of the most severe form of heart attack. It is called ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). These types of heart attacks occur usually due to an acute plaque rupture within the coronary arteries. The chance of dying from this type of heart attack is the highest of all types of heart attacks.

“We studied the effects of temperature on the risk of heart attacks in Winnipeg, Canada, one of the coldest large cities in the world,” said Dr Liu. “We demonstrated that there is a clear relationship between daily temperature and the risk of STEMI. This risk can be predicted up to two days before the actual heart attack. Increased public awareness and reallocation of resources may help us to respond to this predictable seasonal risk of heart attacks in the future.”

Winnipeg, a city of approximately 700 000 inhabitants in Manitoba, is in the geographic centre of Canada. It is known for its very cold winters and hot and dry summers. This allows the perfect opportunity to study the effect of temperature and the environment on cardiac events.

To complete the study, data was collected from Environment Canada on daily high, low and average temperature of the day, previous day and two days before each heart attack. Information was also obtained on daily snowfall.

With every drop of 10 degrees Celsius, the risk of STEMI increased by 7%. But whether there was snow or not was irrelevant. It’s simply about the temperature.

“Other researchers have looked at the effects of climate on total heart attack admissions and cardiac death. But we are the first to look specifically at STEMI,” said Dr Liu. “Our study highlights the potential influence of the environment on occurrence of STEMI. Daily temperature can predict STEMI risk one or two days before it happens.” What this means is that doctors can develop treatment strategies when the weather falls into the danger zone.

So if WINTER IS COMING it might be best to order the groceries online, and let some young strapping individual with great heart health to take the heat in a cold snap. look after yourselves, people!


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