I reside in Minnesota which is known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”. I have spent over one and half years of the life in Minnesota and I like it so far. Minnesota has, beautiful lakes, stunning tourist towns like Duluth and Stillwater, and the Mall of America, which is the largest mall in the America. Besides having all great things there’s one snag to living in Minnesota, which is extreme cold winters. The temperature during winters varies between -10o F to – 40o F, which is enormously chilly. All lakes are frozen in winters and sidewalks are covered with snow.
Though snow covered landscape looks like wonderland, but winter is also the deadliest time of year according to Harvard Medical School. Various serious cardiac problems and hip fractures are more common in winters as compared to other seasons. Here I would like to discuss some chilly facts and tips to get you through the season safe.
1. Heart Attack
Heart attacks, chest pain and other heart symptoms are more common in winter.
Reason: When your body gets cold, your blood vessels constrict. If you already have plaque built up in your arteries, that constriction can decrease blood flow to the heart, leading to cardiac symptoms and a heart attack.
Caution: If you have risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure and worrisome cholesterol levels, take extra care to stay warm and consult with your doctor. It has also been seen that some people have heart attacks while shoveling snow. So take it slow and easy out there.
Though there has been a debate that falls and hip fractures occur more during winter, however, a recent study confirmed 66,346 hip fractures in New York City during winter, especially on the coldest and windiest days.
Reason: Winter inactivity may lead to weaken muscles, making falls more likely, indoors and outdoors. Low vitamin D levels linked with weak muscles and brittle bones
might also play roles.
Caution: In any case, its wise to practice “defensive walking”. If you need a walker or cane, use it. Get rid of loose rugs inside your home along with other clutter and install a night light.
We all feel cold hands during winters which are a common nuisance. But for 5% to 10% of people, hands and other extremities (feet, ears, nose, etc.) that overreact
to cold are part of a sometimes-painful condition, known as Raynaud’s phenomenon....
Reason: In such case exposure to cold brings on attacks in which blood vessels constrict and skin changes color, often going from white to blue, then red. Pain and
numbness can last minutes or hours.
Caution: Though, for most people, the condition is harmless and best controlled by dressing warmly and avoiding cold. But it may cause some underlying conditions
such as lupus and others. Always discuss with your doctor if you have any pain occurring due to winters.
The most common problem faced by people during winters is dryness. People having dry skin, like me know well how uncomfortable winters are for their skin even after all the skin care.
Reason: It happens due to excessive exposure to dry, heated indoor air; mix with dry, cold outdoor air and long hot showers.
Caution: Always moisturize your skin with cream or body lotion, especially after washing your hands or showering. The moisturizer doesn’t have to be anything fancy
according to dermatologists. Sometimes the more expensive products have perfumes in them and may be irritating. The best practice is to keep your showers short and your soap mild. And try not to scratch: That can lead to infection
We all know that we need plenty of water to keep our body hydrated in order to perform well but most of us forget to drink water during winters because we don’t feel thirsty and as a result become dehydrated.
Caution: Drink plenty of water all day long, and especially before and during workouts. I already mentioned about dry, heated indoor air which can be even more dehydrating than warm sunshine, drinking enough water is a must.
Winter in Minnesota brings in its own disease called cabin fever, as you are stuck in your home most of the time. Sitting at home is usually the best option that roaming outside in cold weather. Beside sthe problems mentioned in the post, in my view depression is also prevalent during winters. Usually the snow looks great initially, but become monochromatic and monotonous. On top of that short days, lack of sunlight and early darkness can lead to more cases of depression. Entertain yourself if you are home, catch up on your hobbies like playing guitar, reading books or watching movies. Prepare your self for bright and vibrant spring ahead and keep yourself out of trouble with the easy winter tips.