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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The cold weather isn't just uncomfortable, it causes all kinds of changes in our bodies.
U of L physicians have noted an increase in the number of patients experiencing heart problems -- and there is a science behind it.
The cold weather ramps up the body's sympathetic nervous system, which causes the pressure of blood through blood vessels creating more stress on the heart.
The gray skies aren't helping either, because research also shows vitamin D helps to regulate blood pressure.
Our bodies even produce more stress hormones during the extreme cold.
"We know from studies all the way from the 1930s onward that we've seen an increase in heart attacks, strokes and heart failure exacerbations during the colder months," said Dr. Atul Chugh, director of preventative cardiology and hypertension for U of L Physicians.
Doctors note a 20 to 40 percent increase in heart related problems in the winter as compared to spring and summer months.