Among the early warning signs of overtaxing your heart are dizziness, extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, feeling faint and in more serious cases, chest pains.
Even people in relatively good shape can be at risk during the hot summer days.
“High heat and humidity and heat can put a much greater strain on you compared to activity in cooler temperatures,” cardiologist Brian Weiford, MD, said. “Heat related injuries can affect anyone, but the risks can be particularly high for those with heart disease or risk factors for heart disease.” Staying well-hydrated, wearing a hat and sunscreen, and taking frequent breaks are essential for safe outdoor activity in the heat.
The dangers can be especially high for the elderly. Dr. Weiford relates a classic scenario: “There is that older guy who just won’t give up mowing his lawn. He wants it mowed now, but doesn’t want to pay to have it done or thinks no one else can do it right. He goes out during the sun’s prime time and overexerts himself and the next thing you know he’s in the hospital. We want people to stay active, even during the summer, but we want them to be safe and smart in doing so.”
An important key to keeping heart healthy is working up to those outdoor chores. Your doctor can help you develop an exercise plan that can help get you in shape and have you heart healthy. It is especially important that people with known heart disease exercise only as part of a health program overseen by their physician.
Dr. Weiford said many heart and heat tips can be found on the American Heart Association website at heart.org. He discusses these tips and more in the video.