While most people welcome the winter season with open hearts, there are an unfortunate few who develop certain conditions during this cold period. Here are some of the most common illnesses that people experience during the last quarter of the year.
If you think heart attacks are mainly caused by exerting too much force when shoveling snow, think again. When winter comes, heart attacks rise by 53 percent compared to the number that we get in summer and this applies to states across the nation, even those that have not experienced snowfall or seen snowflakes around their town or neighborhood.
Cardiovascular problems are at an all time high during this season not because of the heavy snowfall, but because of the temperature drop. The arteries’ way of responding to the cold weather is by constricting themselves, making people vulnerable to heart attacks, especially those with a history of heart problems.
Narrower arteries causes the blood flow to be cut down, which makes the heart work twice as hard as normal just to get more blood to various parts of the body. They cause the arterial walls to be torn or split, causing blood clots that trigger strokes or heart attacks.
This phenomenon becomes more difficult as people age, especially when the temperature drops to 32 degrees or lower. It’s harder for older people to regulate their body temperature since they usually have less body mass and less fat, which means more difficulty in generating body heat.
This is also why men and women around 70 years of age and above get colder quickly than those in their 50s and 60s.
If you’re starting to feel a bit down and lonely lately, then you might be experiencing SAD, otherwise known as seasonal affective disorder, which is a specific type of depression that occurs every season, but the most common is during winter and fall. People who are diagnosed with SAD typically experience energy loss, anxiety, social withdrawal, oversleeping, along with other symptoms.
Treatment for this particular disorder is primarily increased exposure to sunlight and engaging in more physical activities.
Vitamin D deficiency
Another condition that is related to not getting enough sunlight is Vitamin D deficiency, which is popularly known as the sunshine vitamin. This is probably because we experience shorter sun exposure during winter’s gray days. Vitamin D is primarily obtained from the sun and passes through the skin. If you have dangerously low levels of vitamin D, your chances of developing heart problems, osteoporosis, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease becomes higher.
You can get back what you’re lacking by just stepping outside and letting your body absorb as much sunlight as it can for 15 minutes everyday. There are regions though that literally do not have sunlight for months, so if you happen to live in those areas, then vitamin D supplements should serve as an alternative.