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January 14, 2020

Extreme cold wave – a real threat for children and heart patients

National

January 14, 2020

Rawalpindi: Extreme cold wave has hit this region of the country and the recent rain has turned the weather more chilly putting children at greater risk of contracting both the lower and upper respiratory tract infections including pneumonia while posing threat of serious complications to heart patients.

Experts say that the rains would help improve the quality of air through cleansing that may be beneficial for adults controlling the respiratory tract infections and asthmatic complications but for children, the case is entirely different because the fall in temperature below 10 degree centigrade may cause severe problems including pneumonia among children if proper preventive measures are not taken.

The public sector healthcare facilities in the region have already been receiving heavy influx of child patients with both upper and lower RTIs including pneumonia and experts say that after the recent rains, there are chances that the number of child cases with pneumonia would go up further.

The extreme cold wave after the recent rain in this region of the country and snowfall over hills in northern parts may cause serious complications for the patients suffering from cardiac problems, high blood pressure or coronary heart disease.

Health experts say that the chronic patients particularly those suffering from heart disease must avoid exposure to extreme cold that affects blood pressure of both the healthy and hypertensive people while disturbing functioning of a number of other body organs badly.

When the temperature starts getting near to zero degrees Celsius in winter, the inhalation of extreme cold air causes vasoconstriction (narrowing) of peripheral blood vessels that may cause complications among heart patients.

Chronic patients suffering from heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes may suffer from complications in extreme cold weather and it is alarming because most of the patients are unaware of the bad effects of cold weather on their health.

Studies reveal that the narrowing of blood vessels in result of contraction of muscular wall of the vessels has extreme bad effects on health of patients with heart problems and hypertension as it may result in increase in blood pressure.

Experts say that being active is beneficial for blood pressure, blood lipid levels, blood glucose levels, blood clotting factors, the health of blood vessels and inflammation but chronic patients should get themselves involved in some physical activity at daytime when the weather gets little warmer.

According to experts, winter particularly the extreme cold weather conditions is the time for patients with cardiovascular diseases and those at risk of CVDs to take extra care in diet and adopt a lifestyle that may reduce their risk of having complications.

According to top cardiologists in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, the chances of heart attack increase especially in late hours of night in winter while the chances of complications also get higher among patients suffering from CVDs.

The most critical time for heart patients is night and in winter, the night gets longer and colder making it more serious for heart patients till 10 o’clock in the morning.

Most of the deaths related to heart disease are reported from late night till morning, the experts say. Experts say the patients suffering from CVDs must avoid exposure to extreme cold in winter as it affects the pumping power of the heart muscle in patients with symptomatic congestive heart failure.