Summertime fun under the sun is one of life’s pleasures. However, for some of us, the sun can also present a risk for heart health.
If you have a heart condition, are over 50 years old or overweight, start new habits to keep yourself and your heart healthy. You may be more likely to get heat stroke, sun stroke or heat exhaustion if you have a heart problem. In hot weather, your heart needs to beat faster as a way to keep your body temperature cool. Know what to do for your body when it’s hot and humid so your heart can work its best. That way, you help keep the heat from stressing your heart.
Protect your heart in the heat by drinking water all day. When you sweat, your body loses fluids that you need to replace. Replacing them keeps you from getting dehydrated. If you have a heart problem and become dehydrated, you might get an irregular heartbeat. Drink plenty of cool water in high temperatures even if you’re not exercising.
Wear loose, light-colored clothing in hot weather. Loose clothing lets sweat evaporate. The best breathable fabric is natural cotton. Try breathable, synthetic fabrics made to wick away sweat and dry quickly, too. These keep you cool and comfortable. Your feet sweat in hot weather, so wear ventilated footwear for comfort.
Keep your heart happy between summer cookouts and ice cream cones. Eating too much heavy food stresses your heart and stomach. Grill vegetable kabobs with fresh local vegetables and corn on the cob. Hold the butter. Grab a lean white meat turkey burger instead of a higher-calorie beef burger. This summer, put some fish on the grill. Seared tuna and salmon give your heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Add some zest to your grilled fish by brushing on some lemon juice and seasoning.
Taking a dip in the pool or the ocean helps beat the heat. If you’re not around water, a fan or air conditioning, keep cool in other ways. This helps you avoid heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Put an ice pack or some ice cubes on your head to stay cool. Use cold compresses on various parts of your body. If you’re outdoors under a hot sun, find shade or shelter after 20 minutes. That can protect your health and your heart.
To stop feeling dizzy in the heat, rest in a cool or shady area. Elevate your feet. Doing this keeps the blood moving from your heart to your brain. That can reduce the feeling of fainting. If you exercise lightly, take breaks in the shade to hydrate.
Check your medications
Do you have a heart problem or other health condition that requires medication? Make sure you’re taking prescriptions that are safe for you to have in hot weather. Some medications can slow down your heartbeat or cause dehydration.
Make sure you’re healthy enough to cope with heat and heart disease this season. Don’t put off getting a physical. Find out if you’re set for summer. Visit mercy.com to make an appointment with a primary care physician or specialist today.
Interested in more stories like this? Our Summer Survival Guide is full of healthy living tips to start your summer right. Learn more here.