Winter weather warning

When the temperature drops, the risk of a heart attack rises. Here's how to stay safe in chilly weather.

Cold weather — especially when it's windy or snowy — can challenge your cardiovascular system. When you venture outside, the tiny blood vessels in your fingers and toes squeeze tight to shunt blood deeper into your body, keeping your vital organs nice and cozy.

To overcome the resistance from those narrowed vessels, your heart beats with extra force, causing your blood pressure and heart rate to rise. This normal physiological response usually isn't a problem, especially for healthy people.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »