According to McCormick, Hank went to the hospital and bent down to kiss Audrey, but she wouldn't let him. 'You sorry son of a bitch,' she is supposed to have said, 'it was you that caused me to suffer like this.' Hank went home and told the children's governess, Miss Ragland, that Audrey had a 'cold, cold heart,' and then, as so often in the past, realized the bitterness in his heart held commercial promise.
Cold weather increases strain on the heart, as it affects cardiac and circulatory functions. People with existing cardiovascular conditions are at particularly high risk of heart attacks during cold weather. As a result, it is not uncommon for more cases of severe heart problems to occur during winter months and cold spells.
A large 2017 study in Sweden investigating the link between different weather conditions and heart attacks found that they were more common on colder days. During colder weather, the heart needs to work harder to keep a person warm. As such, cold weather can affect the heart and cause:
People with cardiovascular diseases may experience more adverse effects due to cold weather, including high blood pressure and arterial stiffness. All these factors put further strain on the heart, increasing the risk of a heart attack. Additionally, respiratory tract infections are more severe and spread more easily during winter, which, in turn, can trigger a heart attack.
The risk of having a heart attack is higher with a combination of cold weather exposure and a sudden burst of exercise. As such, it is advisable for people to avoid sudden exertion in snowy weather, including shoveling snow or going for a walk through heavy, wet snow.
However, some risk factors may have greater influences on how cold weather affects the condition that the heart is in than others. For example, a 2016 study suggests that smoking status and alcohol consumption were the risk factors most likely to trigger a heart attack in low temperatures. This is because they directly influence vasoconstriction, increasing blood pressure as a result.
Consuming hot meals and warm drinks are a suitable way of warming up when cold. Additionally, it is important to stay active and participate in exercise indoors when it is cold outside. This is because regular exercise can help delay or prevent cardiovascular diseases from developing.
Other factors can also increase the risk of a heart attack. Some of these, such as vigorous exercise in the cold, can further exacerbate the risk. It is also advisable to dress appropriately, regularly go inside for breaks, and stay warm.
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