Handling the Heat When You Have Heart Pain

Hot weather advice for people with angina

MONDAY, May 26, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- As the summer season unofficially kicks off today, the millions of Americans who have angina need to be aware that hot weather can spell trouble for them.

Summer heat can raise the body temperature and result in increased blood pressure and heart rate, which can be harmful for someone with angina, says the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association (PCNA).

If you have angina, the PCNA has some advice on how you can cope with the hot weather.

When it comes to exercise, start slow. Exertion can bring on angina. When the weather warms up, people with angina who already have an exercise program should avoid overexertion and should move slowly from their indoor winter exercise program to an outdoor summer program.

People who are new to regular exercise should start an exercise program in the spring before it gets too hot. For example, add short 10-minute walks each day. If you want to start exercising, you may also want to make an appointment with a local cardiac rehabilitation program for advice.

Make sure you keep your cool. Heat and humidity make your heart work harder and bring on angina symptoms. Wear loose-fitting and light clothing. Don't exercise in midday and drink enough water.

Keep your nitroglycerin handy so you can find it quickly if you do suffer angina symptoms. If you're traveling, remember to keep all medications and prescription information in a carry-on bag.

Keep the fun in family fun. Getting together with relatives can be fun, but it can also be stressful. People with angina need to avoid both physical and emotional overexertion.

Angina affects about 6.6 million people in the United States. About 400,000 are diagnosed each year. Symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue and pain or discomfort in the chest, arm, neck and back.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about angina.

SOURCE: Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association, news release, May 2003
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