Too much icy foods likely leading to heart attack

Cai Wenjun
People with cardiovascular disease warned to watch intake of cold drinks, food during peaks of summer heat.
Cai Wenjun

Sudden and large intakes of iced beverages, ice cream or watermelon from the refrigerator can trigger risks of heart attack, medical experts warned.

With the arrival on Thursday of the 12th solar term dashu, or great heat, the hottest period of summer, doctors have warned people with cardiovascular diseases to stay alert because improper eating of cold food may cause heart attacks.

Dr Song He from Shanghai Yodak Cardio-Thoracic Hospital said when cold food passes the esophagus near the left atrium it can cause the coronary artery to shrink. 

"When there is plaque on the coronary artery, there is a risk of blockage of the artery, causing acute myocardial infarction," she said.

A recent case involved a 35-year-old man who suffered sudden chest pain after eating water melon from the refrigerator and drinking iced water. On arrival at the hospital, doctors diagnosed him with acute myocardial infarction.

"People usually think winter is the peak season for bursts of cardiovascular disease. However, summer is also a risky time, as the blood can become thicker due to sweat," she said. 

"It is risky to use extreme measures for cooling down, like bathing in cold water, drinking much iced beverages and directly facing the air-conditioner, especially for people with a history of cardiovascular diseases," Song said.

Special Reports