NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — With scorching temperatures in Middle Tennessee, it’s important to take care of yourself, especially if you have certain medical conditions.

Doctors said in particular, extreme heat and heart disease can become a dangerous combination.

“Being out in this environment, it’s like a stress test. You may have been able to do it on other days, other summers, other years. Day to day, your blood pressure can vary; your sensitivity to this kind of environment can vary. So, don’t go playing with fire,” said Dr. Bryan Doherty, a cardiologist with TriStar Centennial Medical Center.

Cardiac patients, just through their underlying disease and use of particular medications, are a high-risk group, according to health physicians. These individuals can become more easily dehydrated or experience complications in the heat.

“You have medications that decrease their blood pressure, medications that can cause them to lose fluid, become more easily dehydrated in this environment, and then block some of your heart’s normal responses, like increasing your heart rate. They’re often on medications that lower the heart rate, so increasing that vulnerability to heat injury and heat-related problems,” said Doherty. “You need to understand that the risk is increased compared to other people.”

Avoiding hotter environments typically during the hottest parts of the day, taking your medications as prescribed, and also communicating with your doctor if you feel your medication(s) are causing complications are all steps you can take to be safe, according to physicians.

“The best treatment is prevention,” said Doherty.

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