Why are there More Heart Attacks in Winter? - Concept Medical Blog


In winter, the temperature outside has an opposite relationship to the blood pressure of the human body, which means the low temperature in winter raises blood pressure. The heart has to work harder to pump the same amount of blood during the winter due to the rise in blood pressure. Since our blood arteries are narrow, to keep our body temperature stable, high blood pressure increases blood flow to the inner organs, which are closer to the heart, and blood flow to the skin and limbs, which are further from the heart, decreases. The heart has to work harder to pump blood to force through constricted blood vessels; sometimes, the blood may be more prone to clotting if this occurs.


Besides this, the blood’s platelets adhere to one another more frequently in cooler temperatures. Thus, cold weather increases the possibility of a potentially fatal blood clot forming inside the body, stopping blood flow. Platelets are supposed to prevent blood from flowing out of external wounds.

According to studies, heart attacks and heart disease-related problems are more common in the morning hours during the winter. Recent evidence has suggested that this typically results from a spike in blood pressure in the morning. Additionally, there is an imbalance in sympathetic hormones in the morning, which increases the risk.

Due to hormonal changes, there is a rise in clotting factors, particularly fibrinogen. In wintertime, the sympathetic tone causes blood vessels to constrict, and the body’s regulatory and sympathetic nervous systems keep blood pressure and heart rate in check. Besides this, winter morning heart attacks could happen from the plaques rupturing due to the rise in blood pressure.

For someone, who is more likely to have a heart attack due to weight gain and inactivity in winter, the chances of the problem increase. People even end up eating more food, which causes weight gain and cholesterol. Another factor that affects the heart is low exposure to vitamin D. Several studies have shown the connection between low vitamin D levels and cardiovascular health. Inadequate intake of Vitamin D is directly linked to heart problems.

In Short

  • During winter, our blood vessels get constricted, and the heart has to work harder to pump blood, thereby increasing the chances of a heart attack.
  • A drop in the temperature outside has an opposite effect on the human body resulting in a rise in blood pressure.
  • Hormonal changes in winter results in a rise in clotting factors. Clot formation stops blood flow inside heart vessels, causing a heart attack.
  • An unhealthy diet and lack of exercise causes weight gain and increased blood cholesterol, leading to a heart attack.

How to avoid this Situation

  • Lifestyle modifications like physical activities and exposure to sun light for Vitamin-D.
  • Add leafy vegetables, nuts, fibre and protein-rich foods to your diet.
  • Avoid smoking & alcohol. It can raise your Blood Pressure.
  • Avoid too much coffee which causes false sense of warmth.
  • Ensure to take adequate breaks during strenuous activity to avoid overexertion.

For more info, consult your nearest cardiologist and follow his advice to keep your heart healthy.