Risk of heart attack, stroke doubles in winter: DAK

File Photo of Dr Nisar ul Hassan

Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) Tuesday said the number of heart attacks and stroke patients at Kashmir hospitals doubles in winter.

“There is increase in number of deaths from heart attacks and strokes during winter months,” said DAK President and influenza expert, Dr Nisar-ul-Hassan.

“Not only elderly people, but young and healthy individuals come to hospitals with massive heart attacks and strokes and some of them are brought dead,” he said.

DAK President said chill of winter increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

“Research shows that there are up to 53 percent more heart attacks in winter than in summer,” he said.

Quoting a study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, DrNisar said for every 2.9 degree centigrade decline in temperature, the number of strokes in general population goes up by 11 percent. But among those already at high risk due to raised blood pressure, smoking or being overweight, the increase is 30 percent.

“Frigid temperatures constrict blood vessels that increase blood pressure which makes heart attack or stroke more likely,” he said. “The blood tends to be thicker and stickier during extreme cold which makes it easier to clot.”

DrNisar said this winter COVID19 is a big factor.

“If you catch the virus, you are at an increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke. COVID19 causes acute and severe inflammation that builds up fat deposits in the inner walls of the blood vessels. These fat deposits dislodge and get stuck in heart or brain where they block the blood flow,” he said.

DrNisar said the flu of winter also heightens the risk of these cases.