Heart medications increase heart attack risk in hot weather
Millions of people regularly take medication for existing health conditions such as heart disease. However, in hot weather, taking certain preparations can be harmful and dangerous.
A research team has found that people who take certain medications have an increased risk of heart attack when the temperature is high. The study results were recently published in the journal Nature Cardiovascular Research.
Beta-blockers and antiplatelet agents
As noted in a recent statement from Helmholtz Zentrum München, beta-blockers may improve the quality of life for people with coronary heart disease and platelet aggregation inhibitors may reduce the risk of heart attack.
But the results of the new study by a team led by Dr. Alexandra Schneider, head of the “Environmental Risks” research group at the Helmholtz Institute of Epidemiology in Munich and Dr. Kai Chen of the Yale Institute for Global Health suggests that these protective measures can also have the opposite effect on particularly hot days.
heart attack due to heat
It is well known that environmental factors such as air pollution and low outside temperatures can trigger heart attacks. Additionally, it is becoming increasingly clear that an acute heart attack can also be triggered by heat.
Until now, however, it has not been clear whether patients who take certain cardiovascular drugs have a higher risk of suffering a heart attack in hot weather than those who do not take the drug regularly.
The scientists got to the bottom of this question and used data from the Augsburg Heart Attack Registry for the years 2001 to 2014 for their analyses. Researchers were able to examine a total of 2,494 cases between May and September.
Significantly increased risk
According to the information, there was a significantly increased risk of non-fatal heart attacks on hot days compared to cooler control days in patients who took platelet aggregation inhibitors or beta-blockers compared to those who did not take not these drugs.
Taking antiplatelets was associated with a 63% increased risk, and taking beta-blockers was associated with a 65% increased risk. Patients who took both drugs had a 75% higher risk.
Those who did not take these drugs were no more likely to have a heart attack in hot weather.
According to experts, it is also interesting that the effect of taking the drug was stronger in the younger age group (25-59 years) than in older patients (60-74 years), although that the latter more often already have underlying coronary problems. sickness.
More sensitive to heat exposure
The results of the scientists do not prove that these drugs caused heart attacks in hot weather. However, based on the data, the researchers speculate that taking the drugs makes thermoregulation in the body, i.e. adaptation to high temperatures, more difficult.
So taking the drug might actually make these patients more sensitive to heat exposure. However, it is also conceivable that the underlying severe heart disease explains both the prescription of the drugs mentioned and the greater sensitivity of these patients to heat.
Challenging the latter hypothesis is that, on the one hand, the observed increase in risk from taking medication was particularly strong in the group of younger, healthier participants.
Also, no other drugs commonly taken by heart patients increased the risk of heart attacks from heat (except statins).
Take extra care during heat waves
"The results suggest that heart attacks may become an increased risk for patients with existing cardiovascular disease as climate change progresses and associates more frequent hot and very hot days," says Dr. Alexandra Schneider.
It is therefore advisable for those affected to be careful and stay cool, especially during heat waves.
"However, it remains unclear which subgroups of the population are most susceptible to these environmental extremes and would therefore benefit the most from health protection against heat that is tailored to them and requires further research," says the researcher. .
Importantly, the effect of drugs on thermoregulation, the altered effectiveness of drugs in heat, and the interaction of drugs with health consequences of heat such as dehydration need to be better studied.
Only then can general practitioners react to predicted hot days and heat waves and adjust their patients' medications accordingly in the short term, explains the scientist. (ad)
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This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.