2017 Heart Ball: Protect your heart in the heat

Whatever brings you outside — a bike ride with friends, a jog in the park or just a stroll around the block — it’s important to stay safe when the temperature rises.

Tips for heart patients

If you’re a heart patient, older than 50 or overweight, you might need to take special precautions in the heat.

Check with your healthcare professional before starting an exercise routine if you are experiencing symptoms or have a specific medical question or chronic disease. Certain heart medications like beta blockers, ace receptor blockers, ace inhibitors, calcium channel blockers and diuretics (which deplete the body of sodium) can exaggerate the body’s response to heat.

Dr. Michael and Michelle Caskey

But it’s important to keep taking your medications —and taking them when you’re supposed to.

Even if they’re not on medications, older people also need to take precautions in the heat.

If you’re older than 50, you may not be aware that you’re thirsty. If you’re going to be outside, it’s important to drink water even if you don’t think you need it.

Tips for everyone

Think you’re ready to brave the heat? Watch the clock and buddy up. It’s best to avoid the outdoors in the early afternoon (about noon to 3 p.m.) because the sun is usually at its strongest, putting you at higher risk for heat-related illnesses.

If you can, exercise with a friend, because it’s safer — and more fun — to have someone at your side.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion:

  • Headaches
  • Cool, moist skin
  • Dizziness and light-headedness
  • Weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dark urine

If you experience these symptoms, move to a cooler place, stop exercising and cool down immediately by using cool wet cloths, compresses, and fanning. You may need to seek medical attention.

Symptoms of heat stroke:

The symptoms of heatstroke include (call 911 or the local emergency number right away):

  • Fever (temperature above 104 °F)
  • Irrational behavior
  • Extreme confusion
  • Dry, hot, and red skin
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

If you experience these symptoms, seek medical attention right away.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Michael and Michelle Caskey are Town of Paradise Valley residents. Dr. Caskey is a cardiothoracic surgeon, while Mrs. Caskey is a nurse and member of the 2017 Phoenix Heart Ball Committee. Founded in 1959, the Phoenix Heart Ball supports the mission of the American Heart Association to build healthier lives, free from cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Over the past 58 years, the Phoenix Heart Ball has raised nearly $33 million to fund life-saving research, vital community programs, the Halle Heart Children’s Museum and heart health information. This year’s Phoenix Heart Ball will be held Saturday, Nov. 18.

For more information or to purchase tickets please logon to www.phoenixheartball.heart.org. For more information on heart health log onto www.heart.org.

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