A study presented Sunday at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in London has discovered a relationship between cold weather and the risk of a heart attack. Researchers in Winnipeg, Canada – where they know cold weather – found that risk of heart attack is up 7 percent for every 10 degree drop in temperature.
Dr. Shuangbo Liu, a cardiologist at the University of Manitoba, presented the study to the conference. She said that over the past six years she and her colleagues looked at each case in Winnipeg of a STEMI, an ST-elevation myocardial infarction, the most serious form of heart attack.
“We studied the effects of temperature on the risk of heart attacks in Winnipeg, Canada, one of the coldest large cities in the world,” Dr Liu told media. “We demonstrated that there is a clear relationship between daily temperature and the risk of STEMI. This risk can be predicted up to two days before the actual heart attack.”
To get their findings researchers compared each STEMI which occurred over that six-year period with temperature data from Environment Canada. CTV News in Canada notes that the study found that “on days with a daily high of less than 0 C, heart attack rates were 0.94 per day. Heart attack rates were only 0.78 per day when the daily high was above 0 C.”
Dr. Liu said that those numbers were consistent over the entire period of the study. She believes that there are steps that can be taken to use their findings to help reduce heart attacks in cities and countries with cold weather.
“Increased public awareness and reallocation of resources may help us to respond to this predictable seasonal risk of heart attacks in the future,” she said.