Summer Planning Toolkit modules

Module 3: Chronic disease and heat

Cardio-vascular disease (CVD)

Cardio-vascular disease (CVD)

Heat can exacerbate existing CVD and risk of stroke due to dehydration, haemoconcentration causing increased clotting risk, and increased skin blood flow and sweat 32

GPs may encourage patients with CVD to adopt strategies to help stay safe during extreme heat, such as:

  • drinking plenty of water, ensuring it is the appropriate amount for patients with heart failure
  • avoiding physical activity during periods of extreme heat or, alternatively, exercising in a cool place such as pool or air-conditioned gym
  • avoiding substances that can induce dehydration (eg alcohol, tea and coffee)
  • staying in cool environments with air conditioners or fans. Or, if this is not possible, applying cool water to the skin, or visiting places with air conditioners such as shopping centres or libraries
  • wrapping crushed ice in a towel and placing it around the neck or chest
  • placing feet or hands and forearms in a bucket of cool water
  • wearing light coloured, light-weight clothing
  • if going outside, wearing sunscreen, a broad-brimmed hat, sunglasses and a long-sleeved, loose-fitting shirt. Where possible, remain in shade 34.

The Heart Foundation has a webpage dedicated to environment, climate change and heart health, as well as a range of resources available to health professionals including data and statistics, patient resources, CVD risk assessments, food and nutrition, COVID-19 and resources specific to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples health and recovery.

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