Last Updated: December 21, 2022, 12:58 IST
Breathing in cold air can dry up the airways because it is also less moist. (Image: Shutterstock)
Did you realise that the cold can be harmful to your heart and lungs? The following advice can help you maintain the health of these vital organs throughout the cold
Did you know that cold weather can spell trouble for your heart and lungs? Winter can affect our immune system and make us susceptible to health issues. With many of us leading sedentary lifestyles, this means that the risk of sudden heart attacks and respiratory issues increases significantly in winter. When the cold air hits, it becomes more difficult for the body to stay warm. As a result of lower body temperatures, the lungs react by shrinking down. This reduces the amount of air that you can take in each breath. Cold air also contains less moisture and as a result breathing it can dry out the airways. This can trigger an asthma attack or pneumonia.
Moreover, winter is also known to aggravate heart problems like chest pain or cardiac arrest. A lot of people will encounter various respiratory issues such as cold, cough, asthma, pneumonia and bronchitis issues during winter.
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When the body is cold, the blood vessels also start narrowing and the heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body. This results in increased heart rate and blood pressure ultimately leading to heart attacks.
Here are some tips that you can follow to keep these crucial organs healthy during the winter season.
Tips to prevent cold weather from triggering asthma
- Practise yoga or do aerobic activities for about 5–10 minutes before going outside.
- Individuals who have a history of asthma attacks should use a short-acting inhaler before going outdoors. The inhaler stops the cold air from causing the airways to narrow.
- If you have asthma or other lung diseases, avoid sitting near bonfires, as the smoke and fumes from burning wood can adversely affect your lungs.
- Cover your mouth with a mask, so that the air you breathe in can become warm on its way to the lungs, and also filter out pollution and smog.
To prevent heart disease
- Avoid outdoor physical activities and remain inside when the weather is too cold.
- Work out at home but do not perform rigorous exercises that can strain the heart.
- Dress appropriately; wear full-sleeved clothes, sweaters, woolen caps and gloves.
- Drink enough water, avoid intake of cold food, and have a healthy and nutritious diet.
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