Protecting your heart, and your health, during cold weather

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - With temperatures dipping down into the low 20s in the morning, you should know that cold weather can have a chilling effect on your heart.

Dr. Scott Shurmur, a Cardiologist and Texas Tech Physician, says it starts by causing the blood vessels to narrow a little bit.

Particularly in Texas, where snow is a special event, he says if we get enough snow this winter to need a shovel, remember that kind of clean up can be dangerous, particularly when you shovel snow in the morning.

He says, "That's when the heart is most vulnerable. The cold weather itself augments the experience by constricting or narrowing the blood vessel a little bit. Then, it's a real strength challenge, very physically demanding if you pick up and throw heavy snow it because it's a unique combination of aerobic demand and resistance as well."

Dr. Shurmur says that people who already know they have issues with the heart are especially at risk if they shovel snow in freezing weather.

Since Dr. Shurmur was in our studio during a week when the flu is getting a lot of attention, I asked him about that winter concern and how it affects the heart.

Dr. Shurmur says the flu is a very serious threat to people who area already facing heart or lung disease.

He says even if the government has decided that the flu shot is not as effective as it was intended, it is still worth rolling up your sleeve.  Particularly if you have asthma, COPD, emphysema or heart failure, the flu shot can give you some protection to fight this illness should you get it.

Dr. Shurmur says, "The flu shot is not 100% at all, but anything that can reduce your chance of a pretty significant illness is still worth it."

Copyright 2017 KCBD. All rights reserved.