Heart Medications Can Play a Role in Heat-Related Illnesses
Heart disease is the leading killer of both men and women in the United States, with one person sadly passing every thirty-seven seconds. One of the keys to reducing your risk of heart disease is to get outside and engage in physical activity. But as the weather turns hotter, it is important to take notice of how your body feels.
Heart patients, individuals older than 50, and those who are overweight need to take precautions. According to the American Heart Association, certain heart medications like beta-blockers, ace receptor blockers, ace inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, and diuretics can over-stress the body’s response to heat. Despite the heat, it is important to keep taking your medication. If you are not on these medications, individuals — especially over the age of 50 — still need to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses.
What are Heat-Related Illnesses?
Heat-related illnesses, including heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are not only a danger for heart patients and the elderly but for everyone. When outside in temperature about 91.0 degrees, make sure to drink plenty of fluids, rest when needed, and seek out shade. Learn more about identifying symptoms of heat-related illnesses in our post, “Dealing with the Summer Heat.” It is important if you feel you may be showing signs of heat cramps to stop and seek a cooler location immediately.
Tips to Avoid Heat Illnesses
- The simplest trick: drink plenty of water. Many times you may be unaware that you are thirsty, so bring water with you even if you don’t think you need it. Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.
- Have a buddy if you are doing exercise outside during extensive heat, that way you have someone at your side.
- Avoid going outdoors in the early afternoon (noon to 3p.m.). This is when the sun is strongest and puts you at a higher risk for heat-related illnesses.
- Make sure to wear well-ventilated clothing, including shoes and socks. Wearing lightweight, light-colored clothing that is breathable (cotton or synthetic fabrics) helps to repel sweat. Add a fashionable or functional hat and sunglasses to help repel UV rays. You perspire primarily from your feet so having ventilated shoes and perspiration repellent socks help, along with foot powders.
- It is important to take regular breaks and rest for a few minutes in the shade or a cool place and hydrate.
- Don’t forget the sunscreen and reapply it every two hours. Sunscreens that protect against UVA and UVB, broad-spectrum sunscreens, help decrease your risk of getting skin cancer. To learn more about your sunscreen’s preventive measures check out skincancer.org.
These tips can be lifesaving when dealing with high temperatures. Take these into consideration during your next outside adventure/exercise to ensure everyone makes it home safe.