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’Tis the season to pay extra attention to your cardiovascular health.
Wintertime has its charms — think festive holiday celebrations and cozy nights by the fireplace. But chilly weather also brings some challenges, especially for people who have or are at risk for heart disease.
Cold temperatures cause your blood vessels to constrict, which is your body's natural reaction to send blood deeper into the body. This keeps your vital organs warm and helps minimize heat loss. But narrowed blood vessels means your heart has to work harder to pump blood through your body, which raises blood pressure and puts stress on your heart.
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About the Author
Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
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