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February 26, 2012

Cold air is not good for heart patients!

Did you know cold air is not good for heart patients? Cold air is bad for heart patients especially when they are undertaking physical activity, since they are unable to cope with the higher oxygen demanded by the body! Lawrence I. Sinoway, professor of medicine & director of the Heart & Vascular Institute, Penn State College of Medicine, said that this study can help us understand why cold air is such a trigger for coronary events. 

Breathing cold air during exercise can cause uneven oxygen distribution throughout the heart. But a healthy body generally corrects for this problem & redistributes blood flow, making sure the heart continues to function properly. According to the Journal of Applied Physiology & American Journal of Physiology, Heart & Circulatory Physiology report, Sinoway said, "In people with heart problems, such as coronary artery disease, this may not be the case." 

According to Penn State statement, Sinoway said, "If you're doing some type of isometric work & you're breathing cold air, your heart is doing more work as it's consuming more oxygen." Isometric work includes such as shovelling snow & carrying a briefcase or laptop bag. The heart works harder when exerted in cold temperatures & the number of deaths due to cardiac arrest peaks during the winter. 

Matthew D. Muller, postdoctoral fellow at the Heart & Vascular Institute, Penn State College of Medicine said, "There are two different things going on here, one is demand & the other supply. We thought that oxygen demand in the heart would be higher with cold-air breathing & we also thought that oxygen supply would be a little bit impaired, & that's generally what we found."

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