COLORADO SPRINGS — The seasons are changing, and some doctors are looking into how that could impact heart health. The doctor News 5 spoke with said there are studies about the impact of cold weather on cardiovascular health, and while they don't establish a direct cause and effect relationship, he did say it's important to pay attention to heart health in the winter.
Dr. Richard Vu said it's difficult to blame winter for an increase of heart attacks, because there are still traditional risk factors like high blood pressure and diabetes that can play a role too. Still, the American Heart Association recommends people with cardiovascular disease avoid a lot of activity outside in the winter. It also says people should know the warning signs of a heart attack, which include chest pain, pain in one or both arms, and shortness of breath. "The cold temperature itself does thicken your blood, and we from a physiology standpoint, [believe] that may increase the risk of blood clots, and also increases the risk of heart attack or stroke, but we do not know for sure that there is a direct cause and effect relationship," said Dr. Vu.
Dr. Vu also recommended focusing on your health throughout the winter months, and maintaining any normal exercise, but potentially doing it indoors.