Cold and Health: Beware of biting cold

A fall in temperature has led to an increase in the case of heart attacks, strokes and health issues associated with high blood pressure. In cold weather, low-temperature causes narrowing of blood vessels, which can be fatal for diabetics, heart and kidney patients and those suffering from hypertension. They need to undergo a routine check-up, regular monitoring of blood pressure and avoid sudden exposure to cold.

In cold weather or low-temperature place physiological stresses on the body, so the more healthy and fit we are, the more easily our body can cope with these stresses.

One of the best ways to stay warm in a cold climate is by the use of some exercise and healthy food. As people get older, they can become less perceptive of cold temperature, another reason the elderly are more prone to becoming hypothermic, they just don’t notice their falling body temperature.

So, when we get old our body reduces the circulation to the extremities and skin surface, a process called peripheral vasoconstriction, so concentrating a greater volume of blood in the body. This increases arterial blood pressure. The body’s response is to try to reduce this pressure, the kidneys reduce the volume of circulating blood by removing water to the bladder to be lost as urine. This process is known as”cold diuresis”.

Cold weather diminishes the immune system. Cold air is a particular trigger of an asthma attack, the only way to avoid this are to avoid the cold air by staying indoors or wearing warm clothes.

A colder temperature means we burn more calories to stay warm.

Feeling cold all the time is a common symptom of several medical conditions such as:

1) Anemia

2) Hypothyroidism

3) Raynaud’s disease

4) Diabetes

5) Anorexia

6) Heart attack

A constant feeling of cold can be a sign of a more serious medical condition. So, people at risk should keep warm at all times, in the home, outside or in the workplace.

Early morning is the most hazardous time due to natural daily rhythm, so prepare for the winter commute.

During winter, the blood pressure of even a normal person rises and to high BP patients are extra vulnerable during cold waves.

People with coronary heart disease during low temperature suffer from a situation called peripheral vascular resistance due to spasm in blood vessels, which increases the load on their heart.

In cold conditions, the blood pressure of people suffering from high BP may shoot up suddenly leading to a haemorrhage or nose bleeding.

People with high BP should not remain in the sun for long as after prolonged exposure to heat if they get exposed to low temperature, their BP may shoot up. They should also restrict salt intake as cold plus salt may cause disaster for high BP patients.

If the blood pressure rises to very high levels, one may experience a headache, dizziness and shortness of breath, which may lead to a heart attack and stroke. The elderly are at high risk.


1) Check BP regularly

2) Take medicine regularly

3) Healthy eating

4) wear warm clothes

5) stop smoking

So, we should take extra care in the winter weather.

Dr S.k.jha


Timing is everything – CHRONOTHERAPY

Our bodies are wonderfully deft at maintaining balance. As it turns out, though our natural state is not a steady one. Researchers are finding that everything from blood pressure to brain function varies rhythmically with the cycles of sun, moon and seasons.

Only one doctor in 25 is well versed in the growing field of ” chronotherapeutics” the strategic use of time( Chronos) in medicine. For example, asthmatics are most likely to suffer during the night, when mucus production increases, airways narrow and inflammatory cells work overtime. Yet most patients strive to keep a constant level of medicine in their blood day and night, whether by puffing on an inhaler four times a day or taking a pill each morning and evening.

If the night belongs to asthma, the dawn belongs to hypertension and heart disease. Heart attacks are twice as common at 9 a.m. as at 11 p.m. Part of the reason is that our blood pressure falls predictably at night then peaks as we crank up for the day. Most blood pressure drugs provide 18 to 20 hours of relief. But because they are taken in the morning, they are least effective when most needed.” Bedtime dosing would prevent that lapse, but it would also push blood pressure to a dangerously low level during the night.

Researchers say that the antihypertensive drug verapamil has a long-acting tablet that releases no medication until four hours after it is ingested. By taking it at bedtime, patients get peak protection during the early morning hours while averting the usual hazards of nighttime dosing. The clock could prove an equally potent weapon against cancer. Many cancer drugs are less toxic if they are used only at certain times of the day. And the timed treatments have improved survival rates for people with leukaemia and ovarian cancer.

The daily rhythm is not the only one that could affect cancer treatment. In researches, the data of 59 women patients who had undergone surgery for breast cancer and found that those operating on midway through the menstrual cycle enjoyed better 10-year survival rates than those treated at other times of the month. Those studies suggest that mid-cycle breast surgery may bring a 30 percent survival advantage. And unlike most new treatments, this one would cost no more than what it replaced.

Time, after all, is free.

Dr S.k.jha