Cold weather is a challenge in itself, with travel disruptions, snow and ice making even the simplest tasks take twice as long. But winter also poses a risk to physical health for those who are at a higher risk of heart attack, angina or high blood pressure, because of the ways the body responds to the cold.
A 2021 study in the journal Medicine(opens in new tab) found that overall, U.S. cardiac arrests peak during December and January, although the exact statistics is difficult to determine. Live Science spoke to experts to find out why.
Dr. Oliver Guttmann(opens in new tab), a consultant cardiologist at The Wellington Hospital, part of HCA Healthcare U.K., told Live Science that cold weather decreases body heat, meaning the heart needs to work harder to keep the body warm. This can increase the chance of a cardiac event in people already at a heightened risk, such as people who smoke and the elderly, he said.