High Humidity Levels Can Limit Body’s Ability to Cool Down, Placing Added Strain on Heart
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Scorching summer sun, together with high humidity levels in the UAE, are making the heart work harder, placing heart disorder patients at higher risk.
Latest figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) reveal that almost 40 percent of mortality in the region was caused by cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), making the disease a prominent issue in the UAE.
The Dubai Health Authority has also highlighted the problem, with research findings suggesting that 25 percent of Dubai’s population have a preventable cardiovascular disease risk factor.
Health experts from Cinfa, a European drugs maker with a history of leadership in providing accessible care for CVD patients, believe that the UAE lifestyle plays a key role in the high number of CVD cases in the country. The experts say that the unhealthy eating habits, together with inadequate physical activity levels, and a high number of tobacco consumers, are major risk factors that are causing heart related problems in the country. With the addition of intense heat and humidity levels of the harsh UAE summers, CVD patients are at even higher risk with added stress on heart functionality.
“When external temperatures rise, the body works hard to maintain a normal temperature of around 37 degrees Celsius. This is done in two ways; through radiating the heat away from the body, and evaporating sweat molecules,” said Dr. El Hakim, Senior Advisor to Cinfa.
“Both of these natural methods of cooling down require the heart to pump faster and harder in order to eliminate the heat, and are made more difficult with high humidity levels. While people with normally functioning hearts can more easily adapt to these changes, CVD patients must take precautionary measures to ensure their hearts are able to cope with the added strain. CVDs can limit the heart’s ability to provide enough blood to assist the cooling processes and can increase the risk of dehydration with certain medications.”
Dr. El Hakim strongly advises CVD patients to avoid going out between 12pm and 3pm; when the temperatures are at the highest, and to wear loose-fitting clothing that allow air to flow easily. He also stressed the importance of staying hydrated at all times by increasing water intake, and avoiding caffeinated drinks and salty foods. While physical activity is always recommended, CVD patients should avoid placing too much stress on their hearts by opting for less strenuous activities, and should remain indoors while exercising.
Warning signs of heat-related health problems to look out for include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, headache, disorientation and muscle twitches. If any of these symptoms appear, the sufferer must immediately be transferred to a cooler place and drink cold water. If the symptoms persist, professional advice must be sought.