NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group

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Cardiovascular (Heart) Disease

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It’s important to know how cold weather can affect your heart, especially if you have cardiovascular disease.  People who are outdoors in cold weather should avoid sudden exertion, like lifting a heavy shovel full of snow. Even walking through heavy, wet snow can strain a person's heart.

Cold temperatures cause arteries to tighten, restricting blood flow and reducing the oxygen supply to the heart, which can increase the risk of a heart attack. The heart has to work harder during colder weather and requires more oxygen to maintain body heat.

Gentle exercise is encouraged during the winter months but people with CVD must be careful not to over exert themselves. Your GP will be able to advise you on the types of exercise suitable if you're at risk or have heart diseases. 

Tips to help you through the winter season

  • Any exercise routines should be supervised by your GP
  • Begin your exercises gradually. Any sudden exertion or change will mean the heart will have to work harder.
  • Be sensible with what you eat. People tend to eat and drink more during the winter months and especially over the festive period and if you have diabetes
  • Maintain a consistent and sensible temperature in your home - 18 degrees centigrade is a comfortable temperature.
  • Wear appropriate clothing when going out. Always look at the weather and judge if  you need to go out at all.

For more information and advice, visit NHS Choices CVD or ring NHS 111.

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NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group

Headquarters
722 Prince of Wales Road
Sheffield
S9 4EU