Heat and your health
Heat can cause serious problems.
Most healthy people tolerate these changes without missing a beat. People with damaged or weakened hearts, or older people whose bodies donít respond as readily to stress as they once did, have a much harder time, and may succumb to heat stroke. For example:
Damage from a heart attack can keep the heart from pumping enough blood to get rid of heat.
Cholesterol-narrowed arteries can limit blood flow to the skin.
Medications interfere with heat regulation. Beta blockers slow the heartbeat, and so limit the heartís ability to circulate blood fast enough for effective heat exchange. Diuretics (water pills) make dehydration worse by increasing urine output. Some antidepressants and antihistamines can block sweating.
A stroke, Parkinsonís disease, Alzheimerís disease, diabetes, and other conditions can dull the brainís response to dehydration. So, it may fail to send thirst signals.
Hot, humid weather can be especially hard for people with heart failure, or those on the verge of it. The extra work for the heart, compounded by the loss of sodium and potassium and the internal flood of stress hormones, can push some people into trouble. The combination of increased blood flow to the skin and dehydration may drop blood pressure enough to cause dizziness or falls.
It has certainly affected me, luckily I have had a home visit and am now on a Potassium Supplement and a change in medication until the temperature drops.
The bast advice if you have a heart issue is to take things very slowly in this heat.