Heart Deaths in Australia Peak in Winter

BRISBANE, Australia, June 7 (UPI) — The rate of heart attacks in Australia rises in the winter because many people don’t know how to bundle up from the cold, a researcher says.

Dr. Adrian Barnett of the Queensland University of Technology’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation says winters in Australia can be a greater risk to health than winters in much colder Finland and Sweden, because those in the European nations are better prepared for cold.

“When the temperature goes down in Australia the death rate from heart and circulatory problems goes up,” Barnett says in a statement. “We are not very good at protecting ourselves against the cold weather, we don’t wear the right sort of clothes in winter and are homes are often not well insulated.”

Cold raises blood pressure because the veins and arteries constrict, putting extra stress on the heart and circulatory system, Barnett says.

“Elderly people are particularly at risk because they are frailer, their perception of temperature fades and they do not register cold as much,” Barnett says. “Indoor heaters are not the answer, people tend to heat just one room and when they move to other rooms they get cold.”

Barnett recommends those at risk to dress warmer both indoors and outdoors.

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