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  • Marilyn Buckley, CHHC

Heat and Your Heart

I am sure I am not alone in wondering if this extreme heat we are experiencing in Cincinnati right now is ever going to break.

Fall is my absolute favorite season and I cannot wait for the cooler days and nights and the incredible array of colors and scents we are privileged to experience.

This led me to thinking about the additional stress any extreme weather conditions have on our hearts.

All of us, young and old alike are at risk when the temperatures are high, but for many that have heart disease, CVD, the risk is that much greater.

What exactly happens when the air is so hot?

When the air is cooler than our body temperature we are able to radiate this heat to the air. When we are experiencing abnormally hot temperatures our body is unable to radiate this heat away into the air and it is more or less rerouted to our skin. When our body is unable to cool itself naturally there is added strain on our heart to attempt to cool us and other organs begin to suffer causing heat stroke. Heat stroke is a potentially fatal condition!!!

Known and unknown heart conditions can affect the way our body cools down.

If you are currently taking heart medication this can create additional issues for your heart.

Some medication can slow the heart rate and the heat will cause your heart to work twice as hard. Diuretics will cause the dehydration to be worse depleting you of vital minerals required for healthy normal heart function.

Here are some suggestions to beat the heat!

1. HYDRATE: I cannot stress this one enough. So often we only drink water when we actually feel thirsty. Stay ahead of the game and drink water on a regular basis. You can get an app to remind you when to drink more. You should drink half your body weight in ounces. Ex: if you weigh 150 lbs. you should drink 75 ounces of water every day.

Really important to avoid drinking alcohol especially in the heat. If you do consume any plan on drinking 16oz of water for every alcoholic beverage.

APP: My Water Balance, Water Minder, there are several out there.

2. STAY COOL: Stay in the air-conditioning as much as possible. Taking a cool shower or getting in the pool to cool down helps too.

3. PLAN ACTIVITIES ACCORDINGLY: Plan any of your outside activities, work, running, etc for early morning or early evening hours. Do as little as possible during prime hours when the sun is the hottest.


Best to wear loose-fitting, and lighter color, light weight clothing.


NEVER leave anyone in a parked car for any reason whatsoever!!!

If you feel you or someone else may be experiencing a heat stroke please seek medical help immediately.

You can apply some cool (not cold) water to your skin, get out of the sun and heat right away, fan the body, you can sip on a cool (not cold) drink (water is best).


High fever

Hot, dry skin with not visible signs of sweating or perspiration


Nausea or vomiting

A pounding pulse




Fatigue, muscle cramps


Hope you find this information helpful while we continue to deal with the hot weather.

Marilyn Buckley, IHHC

#summerheat #stayingcool #hearthealth

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