Stay Cool This Summer

Hands of senior woman pouring glass of water by window - stock photo

Hot, humid weather can be especially hard on people with a heart condition. The extra work for the heart, compounded by the loss of sodium and potassium from sweating, can cause trouble if not managed correctly. For instance, blood pressure may drop because there is an increase of blood flow to the skin, and dehydration can cause dizziness or falls.

Fortunately, making some simple choices can keep you cool and keep your heart from overstressing when the temperatures rise. 

Time things right
Evening and early morning are the best times to get out, because it is usually cooler. Avoid going outside during the hottest times of day, midday to late afternoon. If you exercise, drink more fluids than you usually do. 

Find cool places
Chilled air is one of the best ways to beat the heat. When the air is as warm as you are, sitting in front of a fan isn’t very helpful. If you don’t have an air conditioner, spend a couple of hours in a movie theater, at a store, or at an air-conditioned neighbor’s house. Taking a cool shower or bath, or putting a cold, wet cloth or ice pack under your arm or on your neck, can also cool you off.

Drink to your health
Staying hydrated is especially important for a well-functioning heart. When you are dehydrated, the volume of blood in your body decreases. As a result, your heart beats faster, increasing your heart rate and causing you to feel palpitations. All of these things are not good for a compromised heart. 

Make sure to drink plenty of cool water and steer clear of alcohol and caffeinated beverages. This will help keep the body hydrated, allowing the body to pump blood through the body more easily.

Eat light
Stick with smaller meals that don’t overload your stomach. Cold soups, salads, and fruits can satisfy your hunger and give you extra fluid.