Every year over 800,000 Americans have a heart attack. Here’s why winter is prime heart attack season.

The five key reasons why winter is problematic:

1. Stress on the heart and inflammation from the flu. Heart attacks are six times more likely to occur seven days after a flu diagnosis! Risk increases slightly if you’re over 65. Historically, flu activity has peaked between the months of October and February, but tapers off by April. 

2. Cold air temperatures. Cold hurts the heart. There are 53% more heart attacks in winter.

3. Inadequate clothing.

4. Overexertion in the cold. Beware of snow!

5. Mixing alcohol with cold weather. Alcohol may make you “feel” warm and “think” it’s warming up, but can lead to hypothermia.

Karen’s Fit Tip: Keep warm. Wear suitable clothing. Control chronic systemic inflammation with an anti-inflammatory lifestyle, i.e., a whole food, plant-based diet, limited intake of processed foods, regular exercise, no smoking, and fat loss (particularly abdominal fat) if carrying extra weight.

Karen Owoc

I’m a Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Clinical Exercise Physiologist certified by the American College of Sports Medicine, KRON 4's weekly health expert, speaker, and author of my book on functional longevity, “Athletes in Aprons: The Nutrition Playbook to Break 100".

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