Understanding Summer Heart Attack Spike – Causes & Risk Factors

heart attack

The soaring temperature does not seem to stop and neither does the adverse effects of summer. Unless we are conscientious enough to shield ourselves during rising mercury levels, it can have damaging effects on hair, skin, etc. But can it impact your heart health?

With long days and shorter nights, summers are usually looked forward for outdoor activities. Being active is one of the keys to staying healthy then why the need to know the potential risk to heart health in summer? It is because, during hot weather, the body has to put extra effort into maintaining its core temperature. As a result, there is extra strain on certain organs including the heart.

Heart attack is not specific to any season or time. However, we shall learn certain factors that can increase the chances of a heart attack when the earth is heating. This article attempts to throw light on factors causing heart attacks and ways to keep the heart cool and calm.

Understanding Heart Attack

The heart needs continuous blood supply to function. Obstruction of blood flow to the heart can be life-threatening as it affects the muscles of the heart. Common symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain, discomfort in the chest, sweating, nausea, and light-headedness.  

Contributing Factors for Heart Attack in Summers

  • The body’s effort to maintain the core temperature

The extreme temperature can cause excess loss of water. To maintain the core temperature there is extra strain on the heart and this impacts the efficiency of the heart. Resulting in reduced blood flow to the heart.

  • High humidity

Excess physical workout – Summer is a time when everyone looks forward to engaging in outdoor sports and activities. People who engage in excessive physical workouts, especially the ones who are not active and are accompanied by certain heart problems are at more risk.

  • Air Pollution

In urban areas due to vehicle emissions and factories, the air quality gets worse. Exposure to polluted air over time affects the heart health.

  • More alcohol consumption

During summer people may consume various alcoholic beverages with high salted snacks. This contributes to high blood pressure affecting the cholesterol level and heart health.

  • Unaware of the adverse impact of heat

People may not be aware of the symptoms of common heat-related problems. This can delay the medical intervention and may increase the severity of the heart condition.

  • Interrupted routine

With scorching heat and disruption in sleep patterns, there are high chances of delaying the scheduled visit to health care. Not following the routine can have a significant effect on people suffering from high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels. This can lead to an adverse impact on heart health.

Knowing the contributing factors to heart problems in summer can help in taking preventive measures and reducing heart problems. Having said the causes and knowing in brief about the heart attack we shall explore how hot weather affects heart health.

heart attack

Heart failure

It is a condition when the heart is not able to pump the blood as per its efficiency. This causes uneven distribution of nutrients and oxygen. During summer heart failure patients need to stay away from risky situations and consult the doctor to review the medication as and when required.


Pain in the chest due to a heart problem is called angina. The characteristic of pain is squeezing pain or a heavy thing put on the chest. It is recommended to stay cool and remain indoors during peak hours.

Heat Stroke

When the loss of body fluid is not treated, the internal body temperature may rise (above 104 F). This can be life-threatening. Symptoms include sweating, fainting, dizziness, heat rash, swelling on the ankles, fast breathing, etc. Heat stroke is a medical emergency and all the efforts need to be initiated to cool the body to 101 to 102F.

Who is Vulnerable to Heart Problems during summer?

  • The extreme temperature mostly affects young children and elderly people. This age group can have difficulty regulating their body temperature.
  • People suffering from chronic health conditions.
  • Those who have difficulty adapting to the extreme heat.
  • Senior citizens with no social contact.
heart attack

Tips to stay safe in summers

A spike in heart attacks during summer is a concern. Given below are some of the tips that can help you overcome the summer heat to stay safe.

*Keep yourself hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is the key to keeping yourself safe in summer. Eat fruits with high water content or drink water before stepping out of the door. Stay away from sugary drinks as it can drain the energy.

*Dress appropriately

Wearing light-colored and breathable clothes keeps your body cool and allows the skin to breathe. Dark color clothes tend to absorb more heat and increase the body temperature.

*Avoid excess physical workout

It is important to avoid physical workouts when the temperature is at peak. Those who are not regularly active should start exercise or any physical workout gradually and slowly.

*Watch what you eat

Diet plays an important role in keeping the heart healthy. Eating meals that include fresh fruits and vegetables, millet, etc can reduce the risk of heart problems.

*Keep yourself aware

Knowing the signs and symptoms of heart problems can help you seek medical help on time.

*Keep yourself cool

Keeping yourself cool both physically and mentally is important. Using a fan, or air conditioner, and taking a shower can help regulate body temperature. Keeping the brain cool is equally important to prevent heart problems. Meditation, yoga, a brisk walk, etc are some of the ways that can keep your mental health cool and calm.

*Review your medication

Certain medications such as diuretics can cause dehydration. So if under any medication, it is important to consult a healthcare provider to keep yourself away from the risk of heart problems.

Take Away

Summers are a great time to go out, indulge in outdoor activities, hang out late at night, and relax. However, keeping yourself aware of the risk factors and ways to protect your heart during summer can help you and your close ones stay safe.

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