A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction (MI), occurs when a decrease or stoppage of blood going to the coronary arteries surrounding the heart occurs. This loss of blood causes heart muscle damage.
Globally, there is an increased mortality rate for heart attacks. Various environmental factors such as pollution and low temperature might increase myocardial infarction. Several pieces of literature have indicated that hot weather can also increase the risk of a myocardial attack. Certain drugs such as beta-blockers that improve survival and quality of life and anti-platelet such as aspirin that reduce the risk of a heart attack in people with coronary heart diseases can be beneficial in managing myocardial infarction.
These drugs may backfire when the climate becomes hot, causing myocardial infractions to become more common. Current research has shown the effects of these two drugs on several people suffering from non-fatal myocardial infarction because of a hot environment.
Precautions save lives
The study researchers analyzed 2494 non-severe myocardial attacks in Germany, between 2001 and 2014, during the hot-weather periods (May to September).
A former study has found that exposure to either heat or cold increased the risk of heart attack and predicted that heat-related myocardial infarction rates rise with an increase in global temperature by two to three degrees Celsius.
The present study extended that research by checking people’s use of these medications before myocardial infarction. During hot temperatures, people using beta-blockers or anti-platelet medicines were more likely to have a myocardial infarction than on control (regular) days. The anti-platelet drug was associated with a 63% increase in risk, and beta-blockers were associated with a 66% increase. People who used both medicines had a 75% higher chance of infarction risk. Non-users of those drugs were no more likely to have an infarction or attack on warmer days.
The research found no evidence that these medications cause myocardial infarction or make patients more prone to it on days with mild temperatures. The patients’ pre-existing conditions could also cause an increased risk of myocardial infarction caused by a hot climate. Patients using these two drugs are at a higher risk. The researchers advised using an air conditioner or visiting a cooling center to help reduce the risk of a heart attack on hot days.
Heart attacks are a global public health concern. Medications should serve to reduce the likelihood of an attack. However, the current study points to two medicines with the potential to increase heart attack risks in hot weather. The study is clinically significant to show the importance of precautions, for myocardial infarction risk patients, especially during hot temperature days.
Beta-blockers and anti-platelets have shown a correlation with an increased risk of a heart attack during hot weather in patients taking both drugs. The scientists called for increased precaution to reduce the chances of a heart attack.