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Cold Wind in Your Face Can Cause Chest Pain

Exercising in cold weather can cause chest pain in some people who have no problems when they exercise in warm weather. When cold wind blows on your face, your heart rate slows down. This decreases the blood flow to the heart and can cause pain in people with blocked coronary arteries.

The blood supply to your heart muscle comes from arteries on its outside surface. The blood that is pumped inside your heart's chambers brings almost no oxygen to your heart muscle. If you have arteriosclerosis, the fatty plaques in your heart's arteries restrict the flow of blood to your heart. Your heart has to pump rapidly to meet its needs for oxygen. A cold wind slows your heart, reducing the flow of blood. If the heart muscle is unable to get all the oxygen it needs, it starts to hurt.

While freezing your face slows your heart, freezing your fingers makes your heart beat faster. Cold hands will not cause chest pain, but a cold face can. If you have no history arteriosclerosis and have chest pain when you exercise in cold weather, check with your doctor to rule out possible heart problems. If you have heart trouble, it is always a good idea to cover your face when you go out on cold days. You can wear a scarf that you can wrap over your mouth, a knitted ski mask, or a hat with a visor that you can lower when the wind blows.


Dear Dr. Mirkin: Is there anything I can do to keep my feet from swelling when I have to stand for a long time?

Your leg muscles function as a second heart to pump fluid from your legs to your heart. When your leg muscles relax, the veins near them fill up with blood. When your leg muscles contract, they compress the veins and squeeze blood up toward your heart.

When you stand still, your heart has to work very hard to pump blood against gravity from your feet to your heart. When your feet are above your heart, gravity works with you to help blood and fluid return to the heart. Eight hours of standing or sitting causes your feet to swell up to more than 110% of their size. This can make your shoes feel tight and your feet hurt.

The best way to prevent swelling is to elevate your feet. The next best way is to move your feet and toes frequently while you are sitting or standing. This can reduce swelling by more than 50 percent and will usually prevent the pain that it causes. If your feet still swell, check with your doctor. You may have a more serious cause, or you may need diuretics or compression stockings.


Dear Dr. Mirkin: Will drinking lots of water while you eat help you lose weight?

Drinking extra water with meals will not reduce the amount of food that you eat. If you drink several glasses of water with your meals, the extra water will distend your stomach and make you feel full for a minute or two, but the water leaves your stomach so quickly that you feel hungry again. The only stimulus to make you stop eating is to take in enough food to make you feel full and satisfied. Water has no calories and does not satisfy hunger.

Most of your requirements for water are met by the food that you eat. A day's food contains about 4 cups of water. The chemical reactions that occur as you burn calories add another 2 cups of water, for a total of 6 cups. You can easily meet your need for 8 glasses of water each day by drinking a couple of glasses of water or other liquid.

Healthy kidneys are so effective in clearing extra fluid from your body that healthy people can take in a lot of extra water safely. Your kidneys can clear 5 gallons of water per day or a half glass of water every 15 minutes. If you exceed your upper limit for water, you may develop a headache, nausea and even seizures.

Foods that are high in fiber and water content help you lose weight because they fill you up without a lot of calories. Forget about drinking extra water; eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans.


Three new RECIPES using my favorite hot sauce, Harissa!

Algerian Vegetable Casserole Mediterranean Seafood Stew Pepper-Potato Casserole Make your own Harissa sauce – it’s easy and keeps well! List of Diana's Healthful Recipes

June 26th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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