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Winter is upon us, the countdown to the festive season has begun, and many of us are spending out evenings hibernating in the house in chunky pjs and 10 blankets. The winter is a stunning time of the year, with crisp mornings, snowfall and bright sunlight: but it can also be dangerous. If you’ve ever seen a wildlife programme, you’ll know that most mammals hibernate in the winter to stay safe. The same applies to us in a way: we don’t have fur to protect us from the harsh conditions which means we need to wrap up warm to avoid our hands freezing. It can be a time of year when many different health issues are aggravated or even caused, and here are some of the most common issues you need to avoid this winter.

Heart Attacks

Heart attacks are an issue with any of us in the winter, and there is a much higher rate of them during the cold months. The reason for this is that our arteries constrict when faced with cold conditions- and this forces our heart to work much harder to pump blood around the body. The strain on our heart can build up after long exposure to the cold and cause it to fail. The best ways to prevent this are to wrap up warm when outside, cover your hands and even wear compression socks to increase circulation to help your heart.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Although in winter you may see a few bright and sunny days, the sun isn’t with us as frequently as in the summer. Unless you have red hair, you won’t be able to produce your own Vitamin D, and this can cause some issues for us in the colder months. Vitamin D deficiency can cause us problems with our heart, mind and even cause osteoporosis. To avoid this being a problem you may need to invest in some vitamin D supplements for the times when you are away from sunlight.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

The winter blues is a real thing, and it has a less snappy name. Seasonal Affective Disorder is the manifestation of feelings of anxiety, depression and other mental disorders which are brought on by the lack of light and sun which we experience in winter. In the winter when it is cold outside and dark in the mornings it can affect our ability to become motivated for the day and in turn lead to us having issues with fatigue and stress. To avoid this, try and start your day early with a big breakfast and a hot cup of tea, plan out your days more thoroughly with to-do lists to keep you on track and make sure you wrap up warm.

Hypothermia

Finally, if you don’t wrap up warm enough in the winter and then you spend lots of time outside- you can begin to suffer from hypothermia. This is when our bodies begin to lose their function due to freezing temperatures. Prolonged exposure to the cold can be fatal and cause our whole bodies to shut down, so make sure to wrap up warm whenever you step outside for longer than 30 minutes.