The summer heat in Florida can be tough for anyone to handle, but it can be downright dangerous for certain people. If you have heart disease, you can talk to your healthcare provider about your elevated risk of heat-related illnesses. It’s also a good idea to know the warning signs of heat-related illnesses and to seek urgent care promptly when they occur.
Why Heart Disease Increases the Risk
To understand why heart disease increases the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, it’s helpful to know how the body cools itself down. On hot days, the heart works harder to pump more blood toward the skin. This allows heat to radiate out from the body. The body also cools itself by sweating, which draws water and minerals out of the body. People with heart disease have a harder time coping with these changes. This can be because:
- High cholesterol clogs arteries and limits blood flow toward the skin.
- Damaged heart muscle interferes with effective blood pumping.
- Cardiovascular medications interfere with heat regulation.
- Diuretic drugs increase urine output, which contributes to dehydration.
How You Can Stay Safe in the Heat
It’s advisable for patients with heart conditions to stay in air-conditioned rooms when it’s hot outside. Try to schedule your outdoor activities for the early morning and evening hours. You can also stay cool by:
- Wearing light, breathable clothing
- Running cool water over your wrists
- Drinking plenty of cold water
If you have congestive heart failure or kidney disease, check with your doctor regarding the number of fluids you can safely consume. If your doctor says it’s safe for you to exercise, plan to do so in the air conditioning.
How to Recognize Heat-Related Illnesses
Heat-related illnesses become progressively worse without treatment. Patients with possible heat exhaustion should receive urgent care. Heat exhaustion is indicated by:
- Nausea and vomiting
- A headache
- Excessive thirst
- Muscle aches and weakness
Heatstroke is life-threatening, and it requires immediate attention at an ER. It can cause these symptoms:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Little to no urination
- Confusion or delirium
- Loss of consciousness
If you could be suffering a life-threatening medical condition, please call 911 without delay. The urgent care doctors at Paramount Urgent Care in Orlando can handle a wide range of non-life-threatening medical problems, including acute heat exhaustion and ongoing management of chronic heart disease. Serving all of Orlando, Lake, Polk, Sumter, Osceola, and Seminole Counties. Please visit our contact us page for a location near you or call 352-674-9218.