THE Heart Foundation has issued a warning to people with heart disease to take extra care in the heat over the festive season with temperatures set to sore across southern Australia.
People with heart disease or people who are taking medicines for blood pressure or excess fluid, such as diuretics are at higher risk of falling ill, heart attack and death during a heatwave.
Chief Executive of the Heart Foundation SA, Dr Amanda Rischbieth, said people need to prepare themselves and think about how they’ll cope and look out for each other.
“People most at risk are those with a chronic disease, such as heart disease, as well older people, children, people taking certain types of medicines, and people engaged in strenuous outdoor activity or physical labour,” Dr Rischbieth said.
“People who are in the high-risk groups should take care during a heatwave and consult their GP about the best ways to manage their condition.”
Dr Rischbieth explained as the temperature rises, the body tries to adapt and balance the heat by increasing blood flow to the skin and by sweating.
“Sweating leads to dehydration, which reduces the volume of blood. This makes the heart pump harder to circulate the reduced amount of blood around the body,” Dr Rischbieth said.
“For people with heart disease and those who are at high risk of a heart attack, these changes can overwhelm the heart and result in a heart attack,” Dr Rischbieth explained.
Tips during a heatwave:
• Look after yourself and keep in touch with others
• Drink plenty of water without waiting for thirst (if your doctor normally limits your fluids, check how much to drink during hot weather)
• Keep cool – stay indoors or in an air-conditioned environment
• Stay out of the sun
For more information call the Heart Foundation’s Health Information Service on 1300 36 27 87 or visit www.heartfoundation.org.au