Winter Raises Women’s Coronary Risk
February is American Heart Month, and with the frigid temperatures extending past Valentine’s Day in much of the country it’s a good month to listen to your heart.
If you live in a colder climate, you almost certainly get less Vitamin D during the winter months than you do during summer, especially if you’re a woman, according to the Women’s Health Research Institute of Northwestern University. Since anyone with a Vitamin D deficiency is at higher risk for a heart attack, stroke and other heart-related conditions, women must be vigilant to get enough Vitamin D. Take a cold walk on sunny days! Walking will doubly benefit you, because physical activity will keep you from packing on those winter pounds; obesity is another risk factor for heart disease.
“To better protect yourself against coronary heart disease this winter, make sure your lifestyle (in relation to diet, regular exercise, and smoking) is as healthy in the winter as it is in the summer,” the Institute advises. “If you are at risk for cardiovascular disease, it is important to avoid sudden exertion, like lifting a heavy shovel of snow. Take frequent rests during shoveling so no extra strain is put on your heart. Do not drink alcoholic beverages before or immediately after shoveling, as this can increase a person’s sensation of warmth and may cause them to underestimate the extra strain on their body in the cold.”
Spring will arrive shortly. Meanwhile, get some Vitamin D and don’t forget to exercise with care!