Article Text

other Versions

PDF
The hazard of rounding Cape Horn: is it changing?
  1. Pietro Amedeo Modesti1,2
  1. 1Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Florence, Florence, Italy
  2. 2Centre for Civil Protection and Risk Studies, University of Florence (CESPRO), Florence, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Professor Pietro Amedeo Modesti, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Florence, Largo Brambilla 3, Florence 50134, Italy; pamodesti{at}unifi.it

Statistics from Altmetric.com

 …he who goes the oftenest round Cape Horn goes the most circumspectly. Herman Melville, “White-Jacket”, 1850

Notwithstanding the range of strategies to help one cope with the cold weather, most countries experience mortalities in excess of 5–30% in winter, brought on mainly by cerebrovascular events.1 This variability is mainly attributed to the population being able to keep themselves warm, both indoors and outdoors, necessitated by the mean cold temperature. Policies and measures to increase efficient use of energy indoors, coupled with advice to citizens suggesting to wear adequate warm protective clothing and to keep themselves active when out in the open, have been thus promoted. The elderly are aware of the risks, and traditionally perceive winter as a rounding of Cape Horn.

Consequently, the result of exposure to acute cold may trigger vasoconstriction, with a rise in blood pressure (BP), and myocardial ischaemia in patients with coronary artery disease. This acute response is considered in all guidelines on BP measurement which recommend the importance of standardised room temperature when assessing BP values. However, a negative relationship between outdoor temperature and BP values was consistently observed even when measurements were taken in comfortably warm rooms.2 In the French Three-City study3 that prospectively investigated 8801 participants over the age of 65 years, average systolic BP was 5 mm Hg higher in winter than in summer. This variation was independent of anthropometric data and baseline BP values, but rather related to the subjects’ age. Variations in BP were greater in subjects 80 years of age or older, than in younger participants. In the reanalysis …

View Full Text

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Linked Articles

  • Cardiac risk factors and prevention
    Helena Marti-Soler Cédric Gubelmann Stefanie Aeschbacher Luis Alves Martin Bobak Vanina Bongard Els Clays Giovanni de Gaetano Augusto Di Castelnuovo Roberto Elosua Jean Ferrieres Idris Guessous Jannicke Igland Torben Jørgensen Yuri Nikitin Mark G O'Doherty Luigi Palmieri Rafel Ramos Judith Simons Gerhard Sulo Diego Vanuzzo Joan Vila Henrique Barros Anders Borglykke David Conen Dirk De Bacquer Chiara Donfrancesco Jean-Michel Gaspoz Simona Giampaoli Graham G Giles Licia Iacoviello Frank Kee Ruzena Kubinova Sofia Malyutina Jaume Marrugat Eva Prescott Jean Bernard Ruidavets Robert Scragg Leon A Simons Abdonas Tamosiunas Grethe S Tell Peter Vollenweider Pedro Marques-Vidal
  • Heartbeat
    Catherine M Otto