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When the weather heats up, heart patients need to stay cool

Dr. Leonard M. Glade, Interventional Cardiologist
When the weather heats up, heart patients need to stay cool

NEW ORLEANS -- Summer means more time to do the activities you love—like taking long early morning walks or working in the garden. But it’s important to stay mindful of the temperature outside. That’s because heart failure places you at a higher risk for heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke, a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body is unable to regulate its temperature.

Why is your risk higher? In heart failure, the cardiovascular and nervous systems don’t work as they should. Research suggests that this affects the body’s ability to maintain temperature control. Also, drugs used to treat heart conditions may make it harder for your body to cool itself by perspiring.

Watch for warning signs

Heatstroke is an emergency. Those suffering symptoms need to move to a cool place and get medical help right away. Symptoms of heatstroke include:

  • A body temperature above 103° F
  • Red, hot, dry, or damp skin
  • A rapid, strong pulse
  • A throbbing headache
  • Dizziness, nausea, or confusion
  • Unconsciousness

A little prevention goes a long way

You can guard against heat stroke by:

  • Being aware. Ask your health care provider if your medications make you more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses.
  • Drinking plenty of fluids each day. Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol, or lots of sugar. If your provider limits your liquids, ask how much you should drink when it’s hot.
  • Wearing lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Staying in an air-conditioned place as much as possible. If your home does have not air conditioning, go to a mall, the movies, or a friend’s house. Spending a few hours in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
  • Taking a cool shower or bath.

Dr. Glade specializes in Interventional Cardiology at Touro Infirmary. After earning his medical degree from Louisiana State University Health Science Center in New Orleans, Dr. Glade completed his Internal Medicine Residency and Cardiology Fellowship at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. 

A native New Orleanian, Dr. Glade decided to return to the Crescent City to continue his practice. He has an interest in complex coronary disease, with a specialty in intra-coronary imaging, atherectomy, and coronary physiology. Currently, he is accepting patients at his offices in Uptown, Lakeview, and New Orleans East. In his free time, Dr. Glade enjoys running, hiking, and trying to keep up with his two young daughters.