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Know How Scorching Summer Heat can Affect Your Heart

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Know How Scorching Summer Heat can Affect Your Heart

Cardiac Surgery | by Dr. Ratan Kumar Das | Published on 08/04/2022


We all can feel the temperature rising, after all the summer is almost here. Children are excited because finally, they can eat their favorite ice creams and some adults are too as now, they can step out of their baggy winter clothes. No doubt the summer season is fun in many ways, but we cannot simply ignore the scorching heat that makes you want to sit in front of a fan or air conditioner all the time. 

For some people summer is nothing more than a season, for others, it might mean an increased risk of various heart diseases. Just like extremely cold temperatures can impact your heart health, so can heat. This especially holds for people who already have an existing heart condition, as such people are at a higher risk of experiencing problems like heat exhaustion or heat stroke. 

If you ever experience signs like increased heart rate or shortness of breath during hot weather, book your appointment with one of the best cardiologists in Kolkata at BM Birla Heart Hospital. You will find a team of experienced and highly skilled cardiac professionals ensuring proper diagnosis and treatment that’s suitable for you. 

This blog contains the required information on the effects of heat on heart health and protective measures that can help in beating the hot weather and preventing heart problems. However, please note that is for information purposes only and doesn’t rule out the significance of a doctor’s consultation. 

What is scorching heat?

Scorching heat is referred to as extremely high temperatures creating severe and oppressive conditions. It usually occurs during hot seasons like summer and is identified by lengthy periods of unrelenting heat, often with minimal cloud cover or humidity. The intense heat conditions make it difficult for people to get involved in the outdoors, causing health risks such as dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke. Scorching heat can also aggravate existing heart health conditions and impact vulnerable populations like the elderly. Hence, one must focus on the significance of staying hydrated, seeking shade, and following precautionary measures to stay cool.

Understanding the impact of heat

Here are some side effects of heat on our health, as listed by the experts specializing in coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG)

  • Heatstroke - It is one of the most common, as well as serious health problems experienced by people living in extremely hot weather. The problem is marked by an increase in the core body temperature of a person and is likely to trigger symptoms like slurred speech, excessive sweating, seizures, and loss of consciousness. Heatstroke is usually caused by overexposure to high temperatures or indulging in rigorous physical activities in hot weather. The condition calls for the need of immediate medical intervention, failing which, there is a serious risk of vital organ damage. You can bring down the risks of heatstroke by wearing loose fidget clothes, using a shield against the sun, keeping yourself well hydrated, and avoiding going out during the peak sun hours.
  • Heat exhaustion - It is caused by overexposure to the sun, while not being properly hydrated. Heat exhaustion is classified into two different types - water exhaustion and salt exhaustion. The former is marked by excessive, severe headache and unconsciousness, whereas the latter is characterized by muscle cramps, lightheadedness, and nausea. Experts from the best heart hospital in Kolkata suggest that heat exhaustion is not as serious as a heat stroke, you should not be taking it lightly. The proper medical intervention is very important or else the condition can progress to heatstroke, posing a serious threat to your heart and other vital organs. The best way to prevent heat exhaustion is by drinking sports drinks to boost your energy levels, avoiding warm and tight clothes, and taking cool showers every day.
  • Rhabdomyolysis - It is a heat-related condition marked by the release of myoglobin, a muscle fiber in the body, owing to the breakdown of muscle tissue due to direct or indirect muscle injury. This usually happens due to rigorous Physical activities however overheating also plays a major role in elevating the risks of the same. Rhabdomyolysis is characterized by symptoms like pain and cramps in the muscles, dark urine, fatigue, and general body weakness. What is important to note is that not all people suffering from the condition are likely to experience the symptoms and some might not present with any symptoms at all. You can lower the risks of rhabdomyolysis by avoiding rigorous exercise in the summer and keeping yourself hydrated at all times.
  • Heat syncope - Commonly referred to as orthostatic dizziness, it is marked by an episode of fainting which happens when the temperature is extremely high. Heat syncope is usually experienced by people during the first few days of being exposed to heat. Experts specializing in coronary artery Bypass surgery in Kolkata suggest that high temperature can interfere with your heart's ability to circulate blood, and as such your brain does not receive enough of it, the chances of which increase when you are standing under the sun for a long period. Heat syncope can also be caused by dehydration, so it is always a better idea to keep yourself hydrated. You should also avoid wearing heavy headgear and clothing during the summers, especially when you are out.

What are the symptoms of heat on heart health?

Here is a comprehensive view of heat in heart health depicting why medical attention is necessary: 

  • Increased heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Chest discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Fatigue 

What is the physiological response of the heart to heat?

The body's physiological processes work to keep the heart healthy in response to heat. Blood arteries widen to release heat increasing the cardiac output. The heart rate aggravates to improve circulation and speed up the transmission of heat from the core to the skin for cooling. Sweating is the body's approach to fixing its temperature meaning that more blood must reach the skin. Extended exposure to severe heat burdens the heart causing electrolyte imbalances, dehydration, and an aggravated risk of heat-related disorders. Hence, it is recommended to drink enough water, take breaks in cool or shady areas, and restrict physically demanding activities when the heat is at its highest to reduce these risks and maintain proper heart health.

What are the protective measures for heart health in hot weather?

Here are some of the protective measures for heart health in hot weather you can follow:

  • Make sure to drink plenty of fluids, specifically water, to avert dehydration and maintain ideal blood volume.
  • Refrain from strenuous activities during the hottest parts of the day and search for a shady place when outdoors.
  • Always wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing and a wide-brimmed hat so that you stay cool during the day.
  • You must stay indoors in air-conditioned environments during peak heat hours to avert overheating.
  • Certain medications can affect the way your body responds to heat, so get in touch with your healthcare expert about any required changes.
  • Ensure consuming electrolyte-rich foods or drinks to refill electrolytes lost due to sweating.
  • Identify the symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, or fainting, and look for medical attention if they occur. 


Comprehending the effect of scorching summer heat on heart health is vital for protecting overall health and well-being. Increased temperatures can burden the cardiovascular system causing elevated heart rate, blood pressure, and risk of dehydration. People with pre-existing heart conditions are specifically susceptible. By involving preventive measures like drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding excessive heat exposure, and identifying warning signs of heat-related disease, one can decrease these risks. Prioritizing heart health during hot weather guarantees a safe and more enjoyable summer season for everyone. Stay aware, stay cool, and take proactive measures to safeguard your heart in this scorching heat.

Faq -


How to deal with summer heat?

It is vital to stay hydrated, wear lightweight clothing, seek shade, and refrain from strenuous activities during peak sun hours to deal with summer heat. 

Does heart rate increase in summer?

Yes, heart rate usually increases in summer as it becomes hard for the body to cool down, particularly during physical activity or in hot environments.

Can summer cause itching?

Yes, summer heat causes sweating and skin irritation, specifically in areas vulnerable to moisture buildup or friction.

What is scorching heat?

Scorching heat refers to severe, oppressive heat conditions with high temperatures and usually minimal humidity, causing discomfort and possibly posing health risks including interfering with heart health as well.