Dr. Ranjan Shetty - Interventional Cardiologist in Bangalore

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HOD & Consultant - Interventional Cardiology

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Dr. Ranjan Shetty - Interventional Cardiologist in Bangalore
Reviewed by

Dr. Ranjan Shetty

HOD & Consultant - Interventional Cardiology

Manipal Hospitals, Old Airport Road

Can Heat Waves Cause a Heart Attack 5 Heart Healthy Tips

Reviewed by:

Dr. Ranjan Shetty

Posted On: Jun 14, 2024

blogs read 5 Min Read

Can Heat Waves Cause a Heart Attack? 5 Heart Healthy Tips

Earlier this year, several parts of India suffered record heat waves. Summer has started, and weather analysts predict higher-than-normal temperatures throughout the country. Extreme temperatures raise health risks for people with chronic heart diseases such as heart attacks. If you have a cardiac problem, here's how to stay cool and protect yourself when heat waves occur. Read the blog to know 5 heart healthy tips during summer.


Impact of Hot Weather on Heart Health

Hot weather forces your heart to work harder to keep your body cool and increases the risk of heart-related issues. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances and worsen existing heart conditions. Studies show a link between rising temperatures during heat waves and an increase in cardiovascular-related deaths. As the temperature rises, the heat waves persist longer, and air pollution levels increase, so does the chance of heart attacks. 


How Can Extreme Heat Raise Your Risk of Suffering a Heart Attack?

A heart attack occurs when a portion of the heart muscle doesn’t get sufficient oxygenated blood. There are various potential risk factors for heart attack, including:

  • High blood pressure

  • Diabetes

  • Obesity

  • Eating a diet high in trans-fat, saturated fats, and cholesterol

  • Lack of enough physical activity

  • Drinking too much alcohol

  • Use of Tobacco 

  • Having a family history of heart disease

Problems Coping a Heat Wave

People with weak heart muscles, older individuals, and those with health conditions struggle more with heat changes and are at higher risk of heat-related issues. Here's why:

  1. Damage from a heart attack can hinder the heart's ability to pump blood to cool down the body.

  2. Narrowed arteries due to cholesterol can limit the blood flow to the skin and affect heat regulation.

  3. Beta-blockers, diuretics, antidepressants, and antihistamine medications can interfere with the body's ability to regulate heat by slowing the heartbeat, increasing urine, and impeding sweating.

  4. Stroke, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, diabetes, and other conditions can dampen the brain's response to dehydration and lead to a lack of thirst signals and inadequate hydration.

Consult our cardiology hospital in Bangalore if you want to learn more about the relationship between Heatwave and heart problems

Warning signs of Heat-Related Illness

Warning signs that your body isn't coping with the heat well are:

  1. Cold, clammy skin

  2. Confusion

  3. Headache and Dizziness

  4. Disorientation

  5. Rapid pulse

  6. Excessive sweating or inability to sweat

  7. Fatigue

  8. Muscle cramps or spasms

  9. Nausea

  10. Swelling in your arms or legs

Consult our cardiologist in Bangalore if you are experiencing the above symptoms. 

Protecting Your Heart from the Heat

You can manage the heat without damaging your heart and ruining your summer by taking a few measures. 

  1. Stay Hydrated: The lower the water level, the higher your risk of overheating. Unfortunately, staying hydrated is not always easy. Stomach or intestinal disorders, diuretics, an incorrect thirst signal, or insufficient fluid intake can all interfere. On hot and humid days, consider drinking one glass of water every hour. Avoid sugary sodas and full-strength fruit juice, which delay the water flow from the digestive system to the circulation. Also, do not rely on caffeinated beverages or alcohol for fluids because these may cause or worsen dehydration.

  2. Check Daily Weather Forecast: Every morning, check the days that are hotter than usual for where you live, especially when being outside on those days may impact your health. 

  3. Wear Light clothes: lightweight, loose-fitting clothing in breathable fabrics eases heat dissipation and keeps overheating in control.

  4. Eat light: Have smaller meals that don't overload your stomach. Cold soups, salads, and fruits can satisfy your hunger and give you extra fluid.

  5. Go gentle on yourself: Procrastinating can be helpful by postponing physical activity or exercise until it cools down. The best times to go outside are in the evening or early morning. Drink more water than usual if you exercise.

Climate change increases the possibility that heat waves may last longer and be hotter. If you have any pre-existing health issues, you should take precautions right away. Taking these preventive steps can make a big difference in saving your heart under extreme heat environmental conditions.


  • Stay inside when it is excessively hot (the temperatures during the heat waves ranged from 32.9-40.4 degrees Celsius or 91.2-104.7 degrees Fahrenheit)

  • Hydrate during hot weather.

  • Reduce indoor temperatures with blinds, fans, and/or air conditioning.

  • Monitor air quality forecasts near your home.

  • Use air purifiers to help with indoor pollutants.

  • Avoid outdoor exercise near highways or polluted areas.

  • Opt to exercise indoors during either extreme heat or high levels of pollution.

Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Fatigue

  • Weakness

  • Headache

  • Muscle cramps and aches

  • Dizziness

The following people are at a greater risk of heart attacks during heat waves:

  • People 65 years of age or older

  • People with heart disease or high blood pressure

  • People who are overweight or obese

  • Bed-bound individuals, people with disabilities, dementia, or those who work outdoors.

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