How is the heat hard on your heart?

The sunny Las Vegas summers can be particularly challenging for patients who have heart conditions, such as heart failure . Consider talking to a heart care specialist about your unique risk factors of heat-related complications, such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. You’ll find exceptionally compassionate and skillful heart care specialists at MountainView Hospital because we are firmly committed to putting our patients first.

How heat affects the body
Your body maintains a safe internal temperature through sweating and blood circulation. Heat always flows toward cooler areas, which means your body radiates its own heat out into the air when the air is cooler. When the temperature outdoors is comparable to your body temperature, the heart has to work harder to increase blood circulation near the skin to cool the body.

Sweating is another effective way to manage body temperature, but this process isn’t as effective on very humid days. Additionally, while sweat does remove body heat, it also removes essential minerals like potassium. People who have heart disease have a harder time coping with these changes.

Why heat is problematic for heart disease patients
There are several reasons why excessive heat and heart disease don’t mix well.

Firstly, some of the medications heart disease patients may take can interfere with the body’s ability to cool itself. Diuretics can raise the risk of dehydration, and beta blockers can inhibit blood circulation by slowing the heartbeat. Of course, it’s important to continue taking medications as prescribed unless otherwise directed by a doctor.

People who have suffered a heart attack have damaged heart muscle, which can prevent the heart from effectively pumping blood to get rid of heat. This process can be further compromised by arteries that are narrow and clogged with plaque.

Patients who have heart failure or are at risk of it are at a higher risk of dehydration in hot, humid weather. They can suffer sudden drops in blood pressure, which may lead to dizziness and falls.

MountainView Hospital is an accredited Chest Pain Center—a designation that reflects our enduring commitment to quality of care. Patients in Las Vegas who think they need emergency care are urged to call 911 without delay. Non-emergent questions about our heart care services can be directed to a registered nurse at (702) 962-5021.