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Airline travel and more disrupted by global tech outage; Nevada gets OK to sell federal public lands for affordable housing;Science Moms work to foster meaningful talks on climate change; Scientists reconsider net-zero pledges to reach climate goals.

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VA doctor gives advice on staying heart-healthy in heat

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Wednesday, June 26, 2024   

Virginia doctors are reminding people how important it is to stay heart healthy in extreme heat.

Temperatures across the U.S. have skyrocketed, and climatologists estimate 2024 will surpass 2023 as the hottest year on record. Virginia's average temperature has gone up almost 3 degrees in the last 20 years.

Dr. Deepak Talreja, clinical chief of cardiology at Sentara Health in Norfolk, said rising temperatures can be hard on your heart.

"The heart muscle is really susceptible to problems from heat, especially when a person gets dehydrated, or when they're not drinking enough fluid and they get their electrolytes off," Talreja explained. "That can cause rhythm problems, changes in blood pressure, and an increase in the risk of passing out."

Enough stress on the body ultimately leads to heart attack and stroke. Drinking water often is key to maintaining good heart health in the heat. While doctors said people should drink eight glasses of water daily, Talreja thinks people should drink 1.5 times that during extreme heat to stay hydrated.

Other drinks high in electrolytes are helpful for hydration but Talreja noted you should check the sugar content. High blood sugar with or without heat is harmful to the heart. He added there are misconceptions about caffeinated drinks in intense heat.

"Drinks with caffeine in them actually act as diuretics, they make you pee more and so, you have to be careful about heavily caffeinated beverages," Talreja advised. "Also, you have to be careful because you want to avoid beverages with a lot of sugar; sodas that cause excess weight, excess blood sugar."

Talreja noted another problem is not planning ahead and being in more heat than you may realize. He recommended anytime you go out, you should grab some water and know where to find a cool, shady spot.


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