British Heart Foundation: Understanding blood clots
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The fear of blood clotting looms large in the minds of many. The condition has many known causes, but one of the lesser-known triggers is exposure to extreme heat. According to one expert, there are ways to prevent blood clotting complications in scorching heat.
According to the British Medical Journal (BMJ), exposure to extreme heat can cause exhaustion and heatstroke.
This severe condition occurs when the body temperature rises to 40C or higher.
It is one of the most common complications reported in hot weather and is a killer because it damages the heart.
Left untreated, it can also cause harm to the brain, heart, kidneys, and muscles, turning fatal in 10 to 50 percent of cases, according to the BMJ.
Another known complication linked is damage to the blood clotting system, which can be averted through hydration.
“Heat can also cause severe dehydration and acute cerebrovascular accidents, and it can contribute to thrombogenesis,” adds the BMJ.
Dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluid than it takes in, and can become a serious problem if it’s not treated swiftly.
Signs of dehydration include feeling dizzy and lightheaded, feeling tired, and having a dry mouth, lips and eyes.
When it leads to heat stroke, it will cause swelling in the lower limbs, heat rash on the neck, cramps, headache, irritability, lethargy and weakness.
Doctor Bharat Pankhania, a senior clinical lecturer at the University of Exeter Medical School, explained: “When your body temperature rises and rises, your system starts to go into a vicious cycle.
“You get cardiac insufficient, brain insufficient, and there aren’t enough fluids.
“If you haven’t kept hydrated, your blood gets sticky and that sticky blood forms clots.
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“If they form in what we call end terminal arteries – the heart, brain, gut – then that part of the organs that’s to die. That’s a stroke.”
Those at risk of such complications are individuals in the older and younger age groups.
People who suffer from chronic disease and take daily medicines may also be at risk.
The BMJ adds: “Studies have also found risks in pregnant women, linking heat exposure to preterm births and low birth weight.”
Individuals with physical outdoor jobs could see significant increases in their body temperature, making it particularly important for them to stay hydrated.
Another way to prevent the body temperature from rising dangerously is to take showers and baths throughout the day.
The NHS recommends wearing light-coloured and loose clothing outdoors, and sprinkling water onto it if necessary.
Certain things, such as excess drinking or excess exercise should be avoided where possible, according to the health body.
It continues: “This will also prevent dehydration and help your body keep itself cool.”
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