Chief physician warns of blood pressure chaos in the heat: “Keep an eye on tablets – especially diuretics”

Chief physician warns of blood pressure chaos in the heat:

At higher temperatures, heart patients should keep an eye on their medication. Professor Heribert Schunkert from the Heart Foundation advises on this and gives tips on how to recognize and prevent blood pressure fluctuations.

When the thermometer shoots up, heart patients should be on their guard. This applies in particular to drugs that cause blood pressure, says the deputy chairman of the German Heart Foundation, Professor Heribert Schunkert from the German Heart Center in Munich. The medical background: Patients with cardiac insufficiency in particular usually take medication to relieve their heart. This happens in part by lowering blood pressure, for example with dehydrating drugs such as diuretics. “If the effects of the medication are accompanied by extreme heat and the associated loss of fluids, then it may be that the blood pressure drops too much. The combination of these factors can lead to an excessive reaction in the circulatory system,” says the cardiologist and hypertensiologist.

Professor Heribert Schunkert: If your blood pressure falls below 100 mmHg, please speak to a doctor

Professor Schunkert’s tip: You should measure and check your blood pressure more often, especially when it’s hot. If blood pressure falls below 100 mmHg (systolic), it is advisable to consult a doctor. Conversely, blood pressure can also rise sharply because the body is under great stress from the heat. The German Heart Foundation also offers further information on this topic in a podcast. In addition, Professor Schunkert explains in detail the new guidelines for the treatment of high blood pressure in an expert contribution.

Beer and wine when it’s hot: the effect on the cardiovascular system is often underestimated

By the way: The deputy chairman of the Heart Foundation reminds us that the effect of alcohol in hot weather is still often underestimated. “Drinking beer or wine to quench your thirst is the wrong approach. If you try to compensate for the lack of fluids in this way, you also risk an excessive reaction of the circulatory system – especially if the alcohol comes together with other risk factors for cardiovascular patients,” warns Schunkert.

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Cardiologist warns: Even temperatures from 30 degrees become a burden

In general, temperatures of around 30 degrees and more become a physical strain – especially for people with heart problems. “Many people find a warm climate pleasant, and we also know from southern countries that, statistically speaking, their inhabitants are less likely to suffer from heart disease than their northern neighbors. But the tables turn when there are major heat waves: heart patients should then be particularly careful,” emphasizes Schunkert.

Circulation is more challenged by increased blood flow to the skin

The physiological relationships: “On the one hand, a lot of fluid is lost through the skin, which is a particular burden for patients who are already drinking a limited amount. You are threatened with an acute lack of fluids. And on the other hand, the circulatory system is challenged more by the increased blood flow to the skin. Both factors can easily lead to excessive circulatory reactions. These can have a negative effect, especially for people with a previously damaged heart.”


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