Hot weather tips from the American Heart Association

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — With much of the nation facing a heat advisory this weekend, the American Heart Association is urging people to take precautions to protect their hearts.

Hot temperatures and high humidity can cause a dangerous heat index that can be hard on the heart. Dehydration causes the heart to work harder, putting it at risk. Hydration helps the heart more easily pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles, and it helps the muscles work efficiently.

“If you’re a heart patient, older than 50 or overweight, you might need to take special precautions in the heat,” according to Robert A. Harrington, M.D., FAHA, president of the American Heart Association and the Arthur L. Bloomfield professor of medicine and chair of the Department of Medicine at Stanford University.

Harrington points out that it’s important to keep taking your medications —and taking them when you’re supposed to. Talk to your doctor about any concerns.

Even people who are not on medications need to take precautions in the heat. While infants and the elderly are more vulnerable to problems from heat, extreme temperatures can cause health issues for anyone.

“It is easy to get dehydrated as you may not be aware that you’re thirsty,” Harrington said. “If you’re going to be outside, it’s important to drink water even if you don’t think you need it. Drink water before, during and after going outside in hot weather.” 

It’s important to know the signs and symptoms when you may be experiencing too much heat.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion:

  • headaches
  • heavy sweating
  • cold, moist skin, chills
  • dizziness or fainting (syncope)
  • a weak and rapid pulse
  • muscle cramps
  • fast, shallow breathing
  • nausea, vomiting or both

If you experience these symptoms, move to a cooler place, stop exercising and cool down immediately by dousing yourself with cold water and re-hydrating. You may need to seek medical attention.

Symptoms of heat stroke:

  • warm, dry skin with no sweating
  • strong and rapid pulse
  • confusion and/or unconsciousness
  • high fever
  • throbbing headaches
  • nausea, vomiting or both

The American Heart Association has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org,FacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.  

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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