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Keep warm and keep a healthy heart, leading local doctors advise

By Cheadle Post and Times  |  Posted: February 25, 2014

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OLDER people are being advised to keep their heart healthy this winter by wrapping up warm, ensuring homes are well-heated and taking advantage of the financial help and benefits available.

That’s the advice of leading local doctors who are urging older people across North Staffordshire to fend off the cold weather and the increased risks it brings with it.

Dr Mark Shapley, Chair of North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “It may feel like it’s getting warmer, but people should not let their guard down, there’s still time for winter to make a comeback and temperatures to plunge.”

“The cold weather and reduced sunlight hours can bring with them an increase in illnesses and injuries and have a dramatic effect on everyday life for people already vulnerable because of their age, illness or disability.

“Cold and wintry conditions can lead to very serious health problems including strokes and pneumonia, but also heart attacks, which are more common in the winter months.

“This may be because cold snaps increase blood pressure and put more strain on the heart.

Dr Shapley said there were a number of simple tips people could follow including staying warm by keeping rooms in use at 18-21°C (65-70°F), using a hot water bottle or electric blanket to keep warm in bed and wrapping up warm in a hat, scarf and gloves when leaving the house.

The advice comes during National Heart Month, the British Heart Foundation’s annual campaign to raise awareness of heart and circulatory diseases.

The NHS has produced a guide on keeping warm and well, which includes tips on staying warm as well as details of the various financial and practical help people can get with heating their home during cold weather.

You can read the guide online at http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/winterhealth/Pages/KeepWarmKeepWell.aspx

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