Sunday March 24, 2019

Heart attacks more common in winter

Every second person in the age group of 30 and above, who are already otherwise at risk, is prone to heart failure during winter, experts say

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representational image. pixabay

Think twice if you find alcohol the solution for keeping your body warm during winter. Medical experts caution that, apart from the common cold and cough, winter is also the time when more heart attacks occur. Every second person in the age group of 30 and above, who are already otherwise at risk, is prone to heart failure during winter, experts say.

They also say that one should not ignore irregular discomfort in chest, severe sweating, pain in the neck, arms, jaws and shoulders or shortness of breath during winter, which are major symptoms of heart failures.

Heart attacks are most likely to happen to old people in winters. Flickr

According to Vanita Arora, associate director and head of Cardiac Electrophysiology Lab and Arrhythmia Services in Max Hospital, “Everyone knows winter is the cold and flu season. But most people are unaware of the fact that it is also the prime season for heart attacks.”

She said during winter, the arteries become constricted with the fall in temperature, as a result of which the heart has to put in more effort to pump the blood. “This makes the heart stress out and it leads to a heart attack,” Arora told IANS, adding: “It is more risky for those who do not have any inkling about pre-existing heart conditions.”

Arora said that people above 30 should never indulge in overdoing anything and exhausting oneself in winter. She suggested that people, and especially diabetic patients, should avoid going for a walk in the morning on extremely chilly days and should shift their walks to the late afternoon when it is still sunny.

Arora said that too much alcohol intake during winter can cause atrial fibrillation, the most common irregular heartbeat problem called arrhythmia. In this, people tend to suffer from palpitations, fainting, chest pain or congestive heart failure.

Also Read: Heart Attack Symptoms In Women Often Misinterpreted

Heart experts said that a constant check on cardiovascular risk factors is one way to ensure that the winter season doesn’t harm one’s health. People should avoid overeating during winter and should rather eat in small quantities at regular intervals, experts suggest.

Neeraj Bhalla, senior consultant in cardiology at the B.L. Kapoor Memorial Hospital, said that as the blood’s viscosity increases with the drop in temperature, heart attacks and other coronary artery diseases increase during winter.

“Cholesterol levels fluctuate significantly with the change in season, which may leave people with
borderline high cholesterol with greater cardiovascular risk during the winter months. Apart from managing cholesterol levels, it is crucial that we keep small things in mind and do not stress the heart”, Bhalla said.

People staying in places where the seasons change very frequently are more prone to heart failures in comparison to those living in cold countries. Heart failure leads to most deaths in hypothermia – a condition in which the core temperature drops below the temperature for normal metabolism. Bhalla said to keep hypothermia at bay, it is advisable to cover yourself with layers of warm clothes. Besides this, it is advisable to take a bath only with warm water.

Alcohol should be avoided to keep body warm during winters.

Chandan Kedawat, senior consultant cardiology at the Pushpawati Singhania Research Institute, said: “In cold weather, the heart demands more oxygen because it is working harder.” Studies have shown that heart attacks and complications related to heart disease occur more frequently in the morning hours.

Research suggests that the early-morning rise in blood pressure or “a.m. surge” that occurs in most people may dramatically increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. “In the winter, people tend to exert themselves or do more work in the morning because it gets dark earlier,” Kedawat said.

“This shift of activities to morning hours adds to the normal circadian variation (cardiac variations that recur every 24 hours) in the mornings – further increasing the heart rate, blood pressure and the hormones that lower the threshold for a cardiovascular event,” he explained. He advises that the best way to prevent such situations for people above 30 is to go for an alternate day check up to the doctors. IANS

Next Story

Google Claims Eye Doctors Can Turn More Effective Using AI

Without assistance, general ophthalmologists are significantly less accurate than the algorithm, while retina specialists are not significantly more accurate than the algorithm. 

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The research team at Google AI believes that some of these pitfalls may be avoided if the computer can "explain" its predictions. Pixabay

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to evolve, diagnosing diseases has become faster with greater accuracy. A new study from the Google AI research group shows that physicians and algorithms working together are more effective than either one alone.

In the study, to be published in the journal Ophthalmology, the researchers created a system which not only improved the ophthalmologists’ diagnostic accuracy but also improved the algorithm’s accuracy.

The study expands on previous work from Google AI showing that its algorithm works roughly as well as human experts in screening patients for a common diabetic eye disease called diabetic retinopathy.

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To test this theory, ten ophthalmologists (four general ophthalmologists, one trained outside the US, four retina specialists, and one retina specialist in training) were asked to read images with and without algorithm assistance. Pixabay

“What we found is that AI can do more than simply automate eye screening, it can assist physicians in more accurately diagnosing diabetic retinopathy. AI and physicians working together can be more accurate than either one alone,” said lead researcher Rory Sayres.

Recent advances in AI promise to improve access to diabetic retinopathy screening and to improve its accuracy. But it’s less clear how AI will work in the physician’s office or other clinical settings, the team said.

According to the team, previous attempts to use computer-assisted diagnosis shows that some screeners rely on the machine too much, which leads to repeating the machine’s errors, or under-rely on it and ignore accurate predictions.

The research team at Google AI believes that some of these pitfalls may be avoided if the computer can “explain” its predictions.

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Recent advances in AI promise to improve access to diabetic retinopathy screening and to improve its accuracy. But it’s less clear how AI will work in the physician’s office or other clinical settings, the team said. Pixabay

To test this theory, ten ophthalmologists (four general ophthalmologists, one trained outside the US, four retina specialists, and one retina specialist in training) were asked to read images with and without algorithm assistance.

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Without assistance, general ophthalmologists are significantly less accurate than the algorithm, while retina specialists are not significantly more accurate than the algorithm.

With assistance, general ophthalmologists match but do not exceed the model’s accuracy, while retina specialists start to exceed the model’s performance. (IANS)