Doctors: Cold Weather Can Trigger Undiagnosed Health Issues - WSPA.com

Doctors: Cold Weather Can Trigger Undiagnosed Health Issues

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Doctors say health issues can creep up in the winter. Doctors say health issues can creep up in the winter.

A rare snow day is sometimes all you need.

“When it is 24 degrees and you are breathing hard, your lungs feel it the next day. It puts a little stress on everything,” says Greenville resident Clay Jones who was out sledding with his son Wednesday.

Bundling up in a warm jacket can't always protect you from the elements. Doctors say the freeze is bringing in some new patients with serious illnesses.

“The cold weather can cause the basal constriction of the arteries or the lungs,” says Dr. Christina Bertolami, “and that makes things like high blood pressure or asthma or COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) a little bit more noticeable."

Dr. Bertolami, a family physician at Palmetto Proactive, explains the winter air makes it harder to breath.

She says people with undiagnosed asthma or other lung disease may not realize they have a problem... until they get outside during the winter.

“So it is a good time to really pay attention to what is going on with your body."

Symptoms of weather-induced asthma may include coughing, wheezing and fever.

If you have pain when breathing, call your doctor immediately. Bertolami says you could be suffering from a heart condition, and minimal exertion in the cold may trigger a heart attack.

Even in people who don't have a heart condition, exposure to the cold can raise their blood pressure.

If get a tingling sensation after you have been outside in low temps, you could suffer from what is known as Raynaud's phenomenon.

It is a rare disease that affects about 10 percent of people, mainly women.

Bertolami says it can cause your fingers and toes to go numb and become blue or purple in color.

It is especially important to keep your hand and feet warm.

In general, your best defense is dressing warmly, especially this relentless freezing weather.

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