Functional Medicine & Wellness

6 Chronic Health Conditions That Get Worse In The Heat

Many people look forward to enjoying the warmth and sunshine during summertime. However, for individuals with certain chronic health conditions, hot weather can exacerbate symptoms and complicate management. At Omnia Health, we want our patients to understand how heat impacts certain health issues so they are able to take preventive measures and stay safe (it’s always smart to hydrate and try to stay in cooler places). Here are six chronic health conditions that tend to worsen in hot weather and tips on how to manage them.

  1. Asthma and Respiratory Conditions

Heat increases the concentration of pollutants and allergens in the air, which can trigger asthma attacks. Additionally, hot, humid air can cause airway inflammation, making it harder to breathe. 

Management Tips:

  • Stay indoors during peak heat hours, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Use air conditioning to maintain cool air indoors.
  • Monitor air quality reports and avoid outdoor activities on high-pollution days.
  • Stay hydrated to keep your respiratory system moist and functioning properly.
  1. Cardiovascular Disease

Heat can put extra strain on the heart as it works harder to cool the body. High temperatures can also cause blood vessels to dilate, leading to lower blood pressure. This can be problematic for individuals with cardiovascular conditions such as heart disease or hypertension.

Management Tips:

  • Avoid strenuous activities during the hottest parts of the day.
  • Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration, which can stress the heart.
  • Wear lightweight, breathable clothing to help your body stay cool.
  • Keep your home cool with fans or air conditioning.
  1. Diabetes

People with diabetes need to be particularly cautious in hot weather. Heat can affect blood sugar levels, making it more challenging to manage the condition. Additionally, dehydration, which is more likely in hot weather, can lead to higher blood sugar levels.

Management Tips:

  • Monitor your blood sugar levels more frequently.
  • Stay hydrated with water and avoid sugary drinks.
  • Protect insulin and diabetes supplies from heat, as high temperatures can reduce their effectiveness.
  • Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing to stay cool.
  1. Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Individuals with multiple sclerosis often find their symptoms worsen in the heat due to something known as Uhthoff’s phenomenon. This is described as a temporary worsening of neurological symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, and vision problems in response to increases in core body temperature.

Management Tips:

  • Stay in air-conditioned environments as much as possible.
  • Use cooling vests or neck wraps to help lower your body temperature.
  • Avoid hot showers or baths, which can raise your core temperature.
  • Plan outdoor activities for cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening.
  1. Rheumatoid Arthritis and Other Joint Conditions

Heat and humidity can worsen symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and other joint conditions. In these instances, swelling and inflammation in the joints become more pronounced, leading to increased pain and discomfort.

Management Tips:

  • Stay in cool, air-conditioned environments.
  • Apply cold packs to swollen joints to reduce inflammation.
  • Engage in low-impact exercises like swimming, which can be soothing and help maintain joint mobility without causing overheating.
  • Stay hydrated to help reduce joint inflammation.
  1. Kidney Disease

Hot weather can be particularly dangerous for individuals with chronic kidney disease. The risk of dehydration is higher, which can strain the kidneys and worsen the condition. Additionally, some medications for kidney disease can make regulating body temperature more challenging.

Management Tips:

  • Drink plenty of fluids, but follow any fluid intake guidelines provided by your doctor.
  • Avoid outdoor activities during peak heat hours.
  • Monitor your weight and blood pressure regularly to detect signs of fluid imbalance.
  • Stay in air-conditioned spaces to help regulate your body temperature.

Minimize the impact of high temperatures on your health.

By understanding how heat affects your condition and taking proactive steps to stay cool and hydrated, you can stay healthy during the hottest months. Always consult with a credible and qualified healthcare provider for personalized advice and management strategies. Omnia Health is here to help you stay informed and prepared, allowing you to enjoy the summer months safely and comfortably. 

Have health-related questions or concerns? Our Functional Medicine experts can put your mind at ease. Schedule your FREE consultation today.




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