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Heat Safety Precautions for the Summer Months

Heat Safety Precautions for the Summer MonthsWith weather approaching the upper 90’s and, on some days, triple digits, the heat can be unbearable at times and downright dangerous, this is especially true when we factor in the high level of humidity. Our bodies self-regulate heat by sweating and also through radiating heat back into the atmosphere. When we sweat, we also perspire potassium and sodium. Both of these minerals help to control nerve function, water balance, and heart rhythm. If you suffer from any heart conditions, the loss of these minerals can be detrimental to your cardiac health.

Sweating can quickly escalate into dehydration; therefore, it’s critical to stay hydrated with cool water, not sugary drinks. If we become dehydrated, we increase our risk of raising blood pressure and having heart palpitations. When our bodies are hot, the skin radiates heat into the air to normalize our body temperature. When the air is sweltering, our bodies can no longer reduce its high temperature this way, as it has nowhere to radiate the heat into or to take in cooler air from, as the temperature is higher than your bodies.

Warm weather makes the heart pump faster, which requires more oxygen. When it’s hot, and we can’t cool down, or breathe efficiently, we complicate the heart’s normal functioning, by putting undue stress on its muscle contractions.

Syncope is a fancy medical term for fainting. Syncope can occur due to many different complications but is commonly seen due to heat exhaustion. What happens is, the body’s oxygen and blood are not able to adequately reach the brain, usually due to a drastic change in blood pressure, which creates a pooling of blood into the lower extremities, and this will cause collapsing and fainting. If the person is not put in a reclined position with the feet elevated, they could potentially suffer additional complications, including a seizure. Syncope can quickly escalate into a dangerous outcome for many individuals. If you have any heart irregularities, you may be more susceptible to these types of fainting spells.

Heat Disorder Symptoms can include muscle cramping, heart palpitations, dizziness, fainting, headache, nausea, and fatigue. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s imperative to get to a cool place, drink cool water and call 911 if symptoms persist.

Tips to stay cool and avoid heat-related heart issues
• Drink extra water
• Talk to your physician about reducing your diuretic pills
• DO NOT exercise in the heat
• Avoid the hottest times of the day (10:00 am to 4:00 pm)
• Eat plenty of cooling foods like vegetables and fruit
• Stay in an air-conditioned room
• Avoid caffeinated and sugary drinks

If you have congestive heart failure, you should talk to your cardiologist about specific ways to stay cool that will not interfere with your fluid and sodium intake issues.

Dr. Vallabhan
352-750-2040

Rolling Oaks Professional Park
929 N US HWY 441, Suite 201
Lady Lake, FL 32159

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