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Cold Temperatures Can Trigger a Heart Attack

Most heart attacks occur as a result of coronary heart disease caused by atherosclerosis, which is a build-up of plaque inside the arteries. When you’re cold, your body works harder to stay warm, increasing the heart rate and blood pressure – which happens when we shiver; and constricting blood vessels near the skin’s surface to reduce heat loss – which explains those cold fingers and toes! For those with atherosclerosis, the body’s reaction to cold can trigger a heart attack. We’re only midway through winter, so take steps to protect yourself: Avoid sudden exertion in the cold, such as shoveling snow or walking through deep snow; wear layers of clothing for insulation; keep your hands, feet, and head warm; and prevent colds and flu, since respiratory tract infections and influenza can trigger a heart attack.

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