Cold is often a big challenge for the organism. Especially for the heart, the low temperatures can be a dangerous additional burden. Therefore, the German Heart Foundation calls for urgent medical attention, such as pain in the chest. In addition, people who already suffer from heart disease should strictly avoid extreme efforts such as shoveling on cold days.
Physical overexertion at low temperatures
Although no one should do without physical activity in the winter, it is important to take into account some hints, especially in the cold. First and foremost, warning signs that indicate heart problems should be taken seriously. "Anyone who feels pain, pressure or burning in the chest when they go out into the cold, must absolutely listen in and have the symptoms cleared up immediately with a doctor, " remarks the Chairman of the German Heart Foundation Professor Dr. med. med. Hans-Jürgen Becker. "Not infrequently, however, such alarms are lightly pushed onto the bronchi or otherwise trivialized, " adds the cardiologist. The consequences are often fatal. Because such complaints in the chest can indicate a lack of oxygen supply to the heart and thus represent harbingers of a heart attack.
Existing heart disease - special care
Particular caution is advised if heart disease already exists. "For example, people with calcifications of the coronary arteries should do without extreme efforts such as snow shedding in extreme cold, " said Prof. Becker, who points out that the additional cold load can quickly overwhelm a previously damaged heart and in extreme cases even lead to a heart attack or sudden cardiac death can.
How should one behave?
Basically, the German Heart Foundation advises, however, to move well in winter. But instead of choosing high-stress activities, one should prefer less strenuous exercise. For example, extended winter walks, walking sessions or shorter jogging rounds are suitable. You should start slowly, so that the body can adjust to the cold. In extreme cold, it is advisable to relocate the sport to the gym or to swim a few laps in the local indoor pool. As a rule of thumb, it has been proven to choose the intensity so that, although the pulse increases, but a conversation is still well possible.
Heart attack: Every minute counts!
If you have severe pain in the chest, which is often radiated into your arms, shoulder blades, stomach, neck, or jaw, or a severe tightness, think of a heart attack immediately. Nothing is more important than to call emergency number 112 immediately. It is urgent that cardiac infarction often leads to life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias, so-called ventricular fibrillation, especially in the early phase. "Without immediate medical intervention, this will lead to death within a few minutes, " says Professor Dr. med. med. Becker. In addition, more and more heart tissue dies, if the underlying obstruction of the coronary artery is not promptly eliminated - preferably with a catheter measure, which makes the vessel again through. As a result, the damage can be limited and the performance of the person concerned can be maintained.
Call 112, not the family doctor!
However, it is important not only to ensure an immediate emergency call, but also to call in the right place. Instead of choosing the 112, many first try to reach the family doctor. "However, this saves vital time, " emphasizes Prof. Becker.