30-40 pc rise in cold weather related health emergencies : Experts

New Delhi: As cold wave conditions prevailed over several parts of the country during the past few days, there is a 30 to 40 percent rise in cold weather related health emergencies, said experts.

“Patients are coming with complaints of pneumonia-related symptoms, heart attack and strokes” informed Dr. Shaarang Sachdev, Consultant & Head, Department of Emergency Medicine, Aakash Healthcare on Saturday.

With temperatures touching almost zero degrees in the capital, experts warned against the adverse conditions and advised people, particularly seniors to take proper actions especially if they have a pre-existing health condition.

“Cold weather seen in extreme winters in countries which have seasonal changes in weather leading to extreme cold has been known in the past to cause an increased risk of acute stroke and thrombotic events in our body”, emphasis Dr Madhukar Bhardwaj, Senior Consultant & HOD, Neurology, Aakash Healthcare.

Expressing his concerns about the dire effects of extremely cold temperatures, Dr Madhukar said that every one-degree decrease in temperature is known to increase the risk of stroke occurrence by around 4 to 6 per cent, which could lead to high instances of stroke.

“Also, low temperatures significantly increase the risk of acute stroke” he added.

Dr Madhukar further informs that extreme temperature drop causes vasoconstriction and an increase in blood pressure and also makes our blood more viscous.

“With the rise in blood pressure, the blood becomes more viscous. And increased vasoconstriction significantly raises the risk of stroke and thrombotic events in our body” he further said.

Dr Madhukar advised that, “one can prevent the risk of stroke developing during winters by ensuring that their blood pressure and other risk factors for stroke are in good control.”

“During winters, we are witnessing aggravated cases of heart strokes, not only in the senior population but people at large,” stressed, Dr Ashish Agarwal, Director, Cardiology – Unit 1, Aakash Healthcare.

Sharing his views on the effects of severe cold air on seniors and the elderly, Dr Vikramjeet Singh, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine at Aakash Healthcare said, “old people are very sensitive to cold because they have a thinner layer of fat under their skin as compared to young people. A lower body temperature can increase the complications related to diabetes, and peripheral vascular disease, and can lead to leg ulcerations.

He informed that “cold weather has an adverse effect on elderly people and for this reason, we always advise the elderly to wear warm clothes and always wear socks – the feet should especially be warm”.


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