Healthy Tip: Warm your heart

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Warm your heart

Some parts of the UK have already had snow and with more cold spells expected, it’s time to wrap up warm for the sake of your heart.
When the temperature falls blood vessels narrow to preserve heat loss increasing blood pressure.

With the blood’s volume squeezed into tighter blood vessels, components in the blood that cause clotting become more concentrated, increasing the risk of thrombosis (blood clots) which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. On top of this, the heart must work harder to keep the body warm, causing your heart rate to increase.

Follow our Healthy Tips to protecting your heart this winter by keeping warm as the temperatures drop.

Wrap up warm
Layer up against the cold with thick woolly jumpers or cardigans whether you’re staying in or venturing out.  We lose a lot of heat through our feet and heads, so pop on a hat when nipping out and make slippers a must when indoors. Heated blankets and hot water bottles are a great idea to really take off the chill and as well as keeping a shawl or blanket on hand to cover shoulders, legs or feet to keep snug.  

Stay active
It’s important to stay moving to keep your body temperature up. Get up for a walk around every hour or so to get your blood flowing. If you’re watching the telly, advert breaks make the perfect prompt to get up off the sofa for a walk and a stretch.

Heart-warming hydration
As we age, many people lose their sense of thirst and don’t drink the recommended eight glasses of water per day. A cup of tea is a great way to warm the cockles of your heart as well as maintain a good hydration level - fruit and herbals teas make a refreshing alternative hot drink.  If you’re likely to forget to have a drink, go by the clock and even set an alarm as a reminder.  Some foods also contain fluids and soups make a simple lunch solution which can also help to keep your intake of liquids up.

Ward off the flu
Older adults are at greater risk of flu which is not only debilitating but could also increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.  If you’re over 65 or suffer from a chronic disease like heart disease you are eligible for an annual flu jab to help protect you against the virus. Remember to get a vaccination each year as the virus is constantly changing.

Look out for loved ones and older neighbours this winter to ensure they’re not left in the cold. Visit older relatives at home and take note of whether they are feeling the freeze and what else might help them feel comfortable and warm. Christmas is the time for giving and the gift of warmth could make all the difference.