Two heart drugs linked to higher heart attack risk in hot weather

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For people with coronary heart disease, beta blockers can improve survival and quality of life, while aspirin and other anti-platelet medications can reduce the risk of a heart attack.

But scientists from Yale found those protections could backfire during hot-weather events, a time when heart attacks are more likely.

They found that among people suffering non-fatal heart attacks linked to hot weather, an outsize portion are taking these heart drugs.

The research is published in Nature Cardiovascular Research and was conducted by Kai Chen et al.

External environmental factors like air pollution and cold weather can trigger heart attacks.

In the study, researchers looked at 2,494 cases in which people experienced non-fatal heart attacks in Augsburg, Germany during the hot-weather months (May through September) between 2001 and 2014.

In previous research, they had shown that exposure to either heat or cold made heart attacks more likely, and they calculated that heat-related heart attack rates would rise once the planet has warmed by 2 to 3 degrees Celsius.

The current study built on that research by examining patients’ medication use prior to their heart attack.

The team found that users of beta-blockers or anti-platelet medications were likelier to have heart attacks during the hottest days compared to control days.

Anti-platelet medication use was associated with a 63% increase in risk and beta blockers with a 65% increase. People taking both drugs had a 75% higher risk.

Non-users of those medications were not more likely to have a heart attack on hot days.

The study doesn’t prove that these medications caused heart attacks, nor that they make people more vulnerable to a heart attack.

Although it’s possible that they did increase the risk of heart attacks triggered by hot weather, it’s also possible that patients’ underlying heart disease explains both the prescriptions and the higher susceptibility to a heart attack during hot weather.

The researchers hypothesize that some of the medications may make it hard to regulate body temperature.

The results suggest that as climate change progresses, heart attacks might become a greater hazard to some people with heart disease.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about simple exercise that could help prevent heart diseases and diabetes, and a better treatment for heart rhythm problems.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about COVID-19 linked to 5 dangerous brain diseases, and results showing that 30 million Americans are infected with a brain parasite spread by cats, contaminated meat.

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