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Posted: January 02, 2008

Caution: Winter is Prime Time for Heart Attacks

Everyone knows winter is cold and flu season, but most people don’t know that it’s also the prime season for heart attacks too.
In the United States, the risks of having a heart attack during the winter months are twice as high as in the summertime. And, a heart attack in the winter is also more likely to be fatal than a heart attack during any other time of year.
Why? Lots of reasons, and they’re not all tied to cold weather. Even people who live in warm climates have an increased risk.
Here are some reasons why heart attacks are more common during the winter than other months and some tips to help you combat them: 

The narrowing also increases blood pressure, which can strain a diseased heart. So bundle up this winter, and keep your blood flowing freely.

If you must shovel, push rather than lift the snow as much as possible, stay warm and take frequent breaks – or better yet buy a snow blower. And if you’re over age 50, overweight or out of shape, or have suffered a previous heart attack, don’t shovel at all.

If you have a heart condition or risk factors for heart disease like high cholesterol and high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about what may be appropriate for you.

To boost your vitamin D intake during the dark winter months, everyone over 50 should take a daily vitamin that contains at least 400 IU (international units) of vitamin D. Those over age 70 need at least 600 IU.
Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” books.
(Article courtesy of

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