Managing Heart Failure in extreme Heat
I am currently going through my first summer after being diagnosed with Heart Failure in January 2010. Writing this I am thinking maybe I should write this next year when I am an expert but the subject is always at the top of my mind so nothing like the present but I thought I would need some help so the following is an excerpt from the British Heart Foundations website.
“Extremely hot weather can cause dehydration and heat exhaustion. Heat and humidity can
interfere with the body’s natural cooling process. If you have a heart problem, extreme
heat may place an extra burden on your heart and circulation.
Excessive sweating in hot weather increases the loss of fluid from your body. This reduces
the total blood volume. This will increase the workload of your heart and the demand for
oxygen, which can lead to angina if you have coronary heart disease. Losing too much
body fluid will also increase your internal body temperature, which could be life-threatening if left untreated.
If you are in hot and humid weather, it is very important to wear light, comfortable clothing. Managing your fluids is a very difficult process as you are trying to balance excess perspiration as well as the diuretic action of your drugs. If you feel as though you need to increase your fluids have a chat with your clinician. However if you need to take more fluid on board then sip the fluid or have a look at some of my tips, sweets, frozen grapes and water spray. Try to avoid caffeine-based drinks because these act as a
diuretic. (That means that they increase the amount of fluid you get rid of through your kidneys.)
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, cold clammy skin, dizziness,
muscle cramps, shallow or fast breathing, nausea and vomiting. If you have any of these
symptoms, get medical attention immediately.
It’s a good idea to consult your doctor if you have any concerns about extremes of
temperature or have plans to travel to a country with either a hot or cold climate.
Health spas, saunas, jacuzzis and steam rooms
If you have a heart condition or have high blood pressure, it is generally advisable not to
use spa facilities – including baths, saunas, jacuzzis or steam rooms. In particular, don’t
use facilities that involve a sudden change of temperature – for example, having a hot
sauna and then plunging into a cold bath. If you particularly want to use any of these
facilities, ask your doctor about it first. Depending on what heart condition you have, your
doctor can give you advice on which types of facilities you should avoid.