When the weather gets cold, and the sun starts to set earlier than usual, it can negatively affect your health. While it will vary depending on where you live and who you are, there are some ways that cold weather can affect your body. In this article, we'll cover some of the more common consequences.
Let's get the more obvious problems out of the way. Two of the most severe hazards of the cold are frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite is when your skin gets so cold that it starts to freeze, while hypothermia is when your body can't produce heat faster than it's losing it.
Both of these conditions are very serious, but as long as you bundle up for the weather and don't spend too much time outdoors, you shouldn't ever have to worry about them. However, if the temperatures drop low enough and your heat goes out, you'll need the right clothing to protect yourself while waiting for it to get fixed.
While frostbite and hypothermia are well-known, not all cold-related conditions are. For example, many people don't know that the chance of a heart attack is higher during the winter. This is because the cold weather causes your arteries and veins to tighten up. Even though your body does this to stay warm, it also puts extra stress on your heart, which can cause a heart attack.
Fortunately, this isn't a common occurrence, but certain preexisting conditions can make it more likely, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Either way, as long as you don't spend excessive amounts of time in the cold working up a sweat, you shouldn't have to worry about this issue.
Speaking of preexisting conditions, some of them can actually worsen due to cold weather—a common one is asthma. Like with your blood vessels, air passages also contract when cold, making breathing more difficult and triggering symptoms.
Joint pain is another condition worsened by the cold. Those with arthritis have reported increased symptoms during the colder months of the year, even though the exact reason for this isn't known. The same goes for those with incontinence. There's speculation as to how cold temperatures can affect incontinence, but nothing is concrete.
Of course, not all the ways that cold weather can affect the body are necessarily physical. This time of year can impact your mental health as well. Those with depression often feel worse during the winter. This could come down to the colder weather, but the darker days don't help either.
Fortunately, finding ways to stay active and maintain a healthy diet can help combat these issues. Just make sure you find things to do inside. That way, you can avoid some of the previously mentioned physical issues the cold can cause.
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