« New Hope for Disorder That Makes Humans Smell Like Fish | Main | Phone App Uses Men to Remind Women of Breast Cancer Checks »

Heart Attack Risk May Increase in Cold Temperatures

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.) -- Frigid temperatures can be a trigger for some coronary problems, which could explain why fatal heart attacks typically peak during winter months, according to a new study.  

Researchers at the Pennsylvania State College of Medicine found that breathing cold air during physical activity can increase the body's need for oxygen. The increased need for oxygen could be troublesome for people with heart disease since the risk for cardiac arrest and death is greater, the researchers report in the study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology and The American Journal of Physiology, Heart and Circulatory Physiology.

During the trial, researchers studied the lung and heart function of healthy adults in their 20s and 60s, while exposing them to cold temperatures. The researchers found that since their hearts were healthy, the participants were able to keep up with the changes in the demands for oxygen being supplied to the heart.  For those with heart disease, the increased demands may be too much.

Bottom line, heart disease patients may want to be more cautious during cold weather exercise.

Copyright 2012 ABC News

ABC News Radio