Change of Seasons and Your Heart

Posted at: 11/13/2012 5:20 PM
Updated at: 11/13/2012 5:31 PM

If you think escaping the cold for a warm climate protects you -- a new study says maybe you'd better save the air fare. ABC's Dr. Timothy Johnson has more in this Medical Minute.

Heading south for the winter may preserve you from snow and sleet, but it won't necessarily keep you from having a heart attack. That's according to a study presented to the American Heart Association.

Researchers looked at death certificates from seven regions across the country where the winter months ranged from warm to cold.

Deaths in winter were 26 to 36% higher than in summer, including those for cardiovascular deaths.

However, the cold climates had no more deaths than the warm ones. The study concludes that something other than low temperatures is behind the difference.

It might have to do with getting less vitamin D on winter's shorter days -- or with less physical activity.

No matter what climate you're in, you are more likely to die from heart problems in the winter.