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Air Pressure And Winter Heart Attacks

By Sally Finder-Koziol

It may be air pressure—rather than cold weather or just the physical exertion of clearing a snow-covered driveway—that triggers more heart attacks during the winter months. “It’s not shoveling snow,” Philip D. Houck says. “It’s the snowstorm.”

Houck, a cardiologist at Scott & White Hospital and Texas A&M College of Medicine, has published a study that shows a relationship between drops in barometric pressure and the occurrence of heart attacks. The research supports what Houck has observed in years of clinical practice. “My experience taking care of patients told me that the day after a major weather event, like a thunderstorm, we would see a cluster of heart attacks,” he says.

The study concurred, confirming that heart attacks increased within 24 hours of an atmospheric pressure drop. And the bigger the drop, the bigger the danger.

Source: American Journal of Cardiology

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