Cold Weather Increases Health Risks for Central Minnesotans
Cold weather makes a lot of things tougher. Dr. Mathew Janzen from Rejuv Medical says the death rate is higher in the winter months, especially in the elderly population.
Dr. Janzen says the cold weather also has an impact on muscular-skeletal pain which means an increase in joint and muscle pain. He says if you are working outside in the winter months there is an increase chance of accidents and/or injuries.
Dr. Janzen says when the body is exposed to cold weather it initiates a total systemic response. It starts with nasal constriction, a limiting of blood flow in an effort to limit heat loss to divert blood to more vital organs.
Dr. Janzen says the next step is the lowering of core body temperature which triggers muscle contraction which leads to shivering. These body adjustments are intended to generate more heat for the body. The body temperature needs to maintain at least 95 degrees Fahrenheit to alleviate damage to the function of the heart and brain.
Dr. Janzen says as people get older they become less tolerant of the cold weather in part because of the challenges the body is facing. He says a person's muscle mass can be a factor in a person's resistance of cold but someone's tolerance of cold isn't a conscious decision.
If you'd like to learn more about how cold weather affects our bodies listen to my 4-part conversation with Dr. Mathew Janzen below.