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It's getting hot - coping with the heat when you have a heart condition

Wow! It's hot in here. It's hot on the train, it's hot inside, it's hot outside... It seems like we've been waiting for this moment for MONTHS and now... it's TOO HOT!

Just joking, I know it will only last a few days so I shouldn't complain.

Here's an article from the front of the Aussie news making fun of our 'hottest day':

This week is all about keeping your cool in the hot weather. This is especially important if you have any health condition, especially high blood pressure, angina or heart failure.

Let me know how the heat affects you and if you have any specific questions about your exercise regime when it's hot.



Keeping your cool during summer

When the weather is hot you sweat to cool down, but this means that you lose more fluid than usual from your body. This can drop your blood pressure and make your heart beat faster. This is not a problem for most people as long as they drink plenty of fluids, like water or other sugar-free drinks to keep from getting dehydrated.

However, if you have a heart or health condition, extreme heat may place an extra burden on your heart and circulation, so it’s particularly important to stay cool and look after yourself. 

What can you do to keep cool?

  • Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water or other sugar-free drinks (Though if you've been told to restrict your fluid intake for medical reasons you should speak to your GP)  
  • Avoid drinking too many alcoholic or caffeinated drinks.  Caffeine-based and alcoholic drinks can cause you to lose more fluid from your body.
  • Eat cold foods, particularly salads and fruit with a high water content.
  • Make sure your home is cool when you're staying indoors. Close curtains during the day to keep the heat out and then open when the sun sets to let cool air in. Use a fan with a wet cloth draped over to cool the room down.
  • Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes.
  • Stay out of the heat in the hottest part of the day between 11am and 3pm.
  • If you have to go out in the heat, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat
  • Avoid extreme physical exertion. Perform any exercise sessions at the coolest part of the day or in an air conditioned room.



Hot weather and heart conditions


If you have coronary heart disease, you may find you start to experience angina or your angina worsens during hot weather, because hot weather increases the workload on your heart and the demand for oxygen, especially when you are more active. 

Heart failure

It’s particularly important to stay cool if you have heart failure - where your heart doesn't pump as well as it should. If you’ve been told to restrict your fluid intake, speak to your GP about other ways to keep cool during summer.  If you take water tablets and start to feel dizzy or light headed let your doctor know. Your dose can then be reduced or stopped for a little while, if needed, until you feel better.

Heat stroke

Losing too much body fluid can increase your internal body temperature, which could be life-threatening if left untreated. 

Symptoms of heat stroke include sweating, cold clammy skin, dizziness, fainting, muscle cramps, heat rash, oedema (swelling) in the ankles, shallow or fast breathing, nausea and vomiting. 

If you suspect that you or someone else has heat stroke, get medical attention immediately.

Who is most at risk?

Elderly people and very young children have more difficulty in regulating their temperature and so can be more at risk from extreme temperatures. In hot weather, check on your friends and relatives regularly to make sure they are cool and comfortable.

Let me know if you have any questions at all!

Stay cool and have a great week!