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  • January 14, 2022

    By Allison Larson, MD

    Whether you’re a winter sports enthusiast or spend the season curled up by the fireplace, the low humidity, bitter winds, and dry indoor heat that accompany cold weather can deplete your skin’s natural moisture. Dry skin is not only painful, uncomfortable, and irritating; it also can lead to skin conditions such as eczema, which results in itchy, red, bumpy skin patches. 


    Follow these six tips to prevent and treat skin damage caused by winter dryness.


    1. Do: Wear sunscreen all year long.

    UV rays can easily penetrate cloudy skies to dry out exposed skin. And when the sun is shining, snow and ice reflect its rays, increasing UV exposure. 


    Getting a sunburn can cause severe dryness, premature aging of the skin, and skin cancer. Snow or shine, apply sunscreen before participating in any outdoor activity during the winter—especially if you take a tropical vacation to escape the cold; your skin is less accustomed to sunlight and more likely to burn quickly.


    The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends sunscreen that offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays, and offers a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.


    That being said, if you are considering laser skin treatments to reduce wrinkles, hair, blemishes, or acne scars, winter is a better time to receive these procedures. Sun exposure shortly after a treatment increases the risk of hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin), and people are less likely to spend time outside during the winter.


    Related reading: 7 Simple Ways to Protect Your Skin in the Sun

    2. Do: Skip products with drying ingredients.

    Soaps or facial products you use in warm weather with no issues may irritate your skin during colder seasons. This is because they contain ingredients that can cause dryness, but the effects aren’t noticeable until they’re worsened by the dry winter climate.

    You may need to take a break from:

    • Anti-acne medications containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid
    • Antibacterial and detergent-based soap
    • Anything containing fragrance, from soap to hand sanitizer

    Hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer, which contains a high level of skin-drying alcohol, cannot be avoided; we need to maintain good hand hygiene to stop the spread of germs. If your job or lifestyle requires frequent hand washing or sanitizing, routinely apply hand cream throughout the day as well.


    During the COVID-19 pandemic, I have seen a lot of people develop hand dermatitis—a condition with itchy, burning skin that can swell and blister—due to constant hand washing. Sometimes the fix is as simple as changing the soap they're using. Sensitive-skin soap is the best product for dry skin; it typically foams up less but still cleans the skin efficiently.


    3. Do: Pay closer attention to thick skin.

    Areas of thin skin, such as the face and backs of your hands, are usually exposed to the wind and sun the most. It’s easy to tell when they start drying out. But the thick skin on your palms and bottoms of your feet is also prone to dryness—and tends to receive less attention.


    When thick skin gets dry, fissures form. You’ll see the surface turn white and scaly; then deep, linear cracks will appear. It isn’t as pliable as thin skin. When you’re constantly on your feet or using your hands to work, cook, and everything in between, dry thick skin cracks instead of flexing with your movements. 


    To soften cracked skin, gently massage a heavy-duty moisturizer—such as Vaseline—into the affected area once or twice a day. You can also talk with your doctor about using a skin-safe adhesive to close the fissures and help them heal faster.


    Related reading:  Follow these 5 Tips for Healthy Skin

    4. Don’t believe the myth that drinking more water will fix dry skin.

    Contrary to popular belief, the amount of water or fluids you drink does not play a major role in skin hydration—unless you’re severely dehydrated. In the winter, especially, dry skin is caused by external elements; it should be treated from the outside as well. 


    The best way to keep skin hydrated and healthy is to apply fragrance-free cream or ointment—not lotion—to damp skin after a shower or bath.
    Some people need additional moisturizers for their hands, legs, or other areas prone to dryness.

    While some lotions are made better than others, most are a combination of water and powder that evaporates quickly. Creams and ointments work better because they contain ingredients that can help rebuild your skin barrier. 

    Look for products with ceramide, a fatty acid that helps rebuild the fat and protein barrier that holds your skin cells together. The AAD also recommends moisturizing ingredients such as:

    • Dimethicone
    • Glycerin
    • Jojoba oil
    • Lanolin
    • Mineral oil
    • Petrolatum
    • Shea butter

    For severely dry skin, you can try a “wet wrap” technique:

    1. Rinse a pair of tight-fitting pajamas in warm water and wring them out so they’re damp, not wet.
    2. Apply cream or ointment to your skin.
    3. Put on the damp pajamas, followed by a pair of dry pajamas, and wear the ensemble for several hours.

    Dampness makes your skin more permeable and better able to absorb hydrating products. If the wet wrap or over-the-counter products aren’t working for you, talk with a dermatologist about prescription skin hydration options. 

    Drinking more water isn’t the answer to dry winter skin. The best solution is to apply fragrance-free cream or ointment directly to damp skin. Get more cold weather #SkinCareTips from a dermatologist in this blog: https://bit.ly/3KbVUA1.
    Click to Tweet

     

    5. Don’t confuse skin conditions with dryness.

    Skin conditions are often mistaken for dry skin because peeling or flaking are common symptoms. Redness of the skin or itching in addition to dryness and flaking indicates a skin condition that may need more than an over-the-counter moisturizer.


    Skin cells are anchored together by a lipid and protein layer (like a brick and mortar wall). With very dry skin, the seal on this wall or barrier is not fully intact and water evaporates out of the skin’s surface. The skin will become itchy and red in addition to scaly or flaky. If you experience these symptoms, visit with a dermatologist.

    6. Don’t wait for symptoms to take care of dry skin.

    Be proactive—the best way to maintain moisture is to apply hydrating creams and ointments directly to your skin on a regular basis. Start by applying them as part of your morning routine. Once you get used to that, add a nighttime application. And carry a container of it when you’re on the go or keep it in an easily accessible location at work.

     

    You can’t avoid dry air, but you can take precautions to reduce its harsh effects on your skin. If over-the-counter products don’t seem to help, our dermatologists can provide an individualized treatment plan. Hydrated skin is healthy skin!


    Does your skin get drier as the air gets colder?

    Our dermatologists can help.

    Call 202-877-DOCS (3627) or Request an Appointment

All Blogs

  • February 07, 2021

    By MedStar Team

    Congratulations to all MedStar researchers who had articles published in January 2021. The selected articles and link to PubMed provided below represent the body of work completed by MedStar Health investigators, physicians, and associates and published in peer-reviewed journals last month. The list is compiled from PubMed for any author using “MedStar” in the author affiliation. Congratulations to this month’s authors. We look forward to seeing your future research.

    View the full list of publications on PubMed.gov here.

    Selected research:

    1. National trends and 30-day readmission rates for next-day-discharge transcatheter aortic valve replacement: An analysis from the Nationwide Readmissions Database, 2012-2016
      American Heart Journal, 2021.DOI: 10.1016/j.ahj.2020.08.015
      Yerasi C, Tripathi B, Wang Y, Forrestal BJ, Case BC, Khan JM, Torguson R, Ben-Dor I, Satler LF, Garcia-Garcia HM, Weintraub WS, Rogers T, Waksman R.

    2. It Is Not Pneumonia! A Case of Unilateral Pulmonary Edema.
      The American Journal of Medicine, 2021. DOI: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2020.05.050
      Stingo FE, Sallam T, Govindu R, Ammar H.

       

    3. Opioid Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology Training Programs.
      Southern Medical Journal, 2021. DOI: 10.14423/SMJ.0000000000001194
      Dieter AA, Willis-Gray M, Carey ET. 

       

    4. Sociodemographic Disparities in Influenza Vaccination Among Adults With Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease in the United States.
      JAMA Cardiology, 2021. DOI: 10.1001/jamacardio.2020.3978
      Grandhi GR, Mszar R, Vahidy F, Valero-Elizondo J, Blankstein R, Blaha MJ, Virani SS, Andrieni JD, Omer SB, Nasir K.
  • February 07, 2021

    By MedStar Team

    Collaborative research from MedStar Health Research Institute’s Health Economics and Aging Research team along with other researchers sought to assess goal-based outcomes that allow individuals to set goals based on their own priorities and measure progress.  "Standardised approach to measuring goal-based outcomes among older disabled adults: results from a multisite pilot" was published in BMJ Quality and Safety.

    The study used seven clinical practices, with 33 clinicians participating, that served an older adult, functionally disabled population and existing process for eliciting patient centered goals. Each of the seven sites were asked to identify potential participants from their existing cases who were over 50 years old with either activity of daily living (ADL) or instrumental ADL impairments along with caregivers. 

    For individuals with cognitive impairment, clinicians were encouraged to set goals with the patient if possible and engage the caregiver. For individuals without cognitive impairment, clinicians were encouraged to set goals with the patient but set goals with the caregiver (alone or in tandem with the patient) if they were normally part of the clinical encounter. Participants    and    clinicians    used      existing    approaches for eliciting patient-centered goals and then used either the goal attainment scaling or prioritized patient-reported outcome measures approach to measure goal achievement.  

    Across the seven sites that implemented the goal-setting intervention, there were 193 patients alone, 30 patient and caregiver dyads, and 6 caregivers alone for a total of 229 participants. All study participants set at least one goal and 31 participants had more than one goal for a total of 263 goals. Seventeen of the 33 participating clinicians responded to the usability questions (response rate 51%).  On a 10-point scale (1–10), clinicians rated usability of goal attainment scaling. as high on all three domains on average: determining which services and supports to provide, helping patients achieve their goals and helping patients track their progress. 

    Among goal attainment scaling participants with follow-up data, 74% met at least one goal. 12% revised their goal, or expected outcome, over the 6-month period. Sometimes goal revision occurred when participants achieved a goal and set new ones; in other cases, participants decided to revise their goal because they were not making progress and wanted to set a more realistic goal, or they preferred to work on a different goal. 

    Among the prioritized patient-reported outcome measures participants with follow-up data, 70% achieved their goal, with 5 participants revising their goal over the study period. The rate of goal achievement was not significantly different between the two approaches. In most cases (92%), the individual and clinicians’ rating of goal achievement matched; however, there was a minority of cases where individuals rated their goal attainment higher than the clinicians’ ratings and vice versa. 

    The study team concludes that using structured approaches to goal-based outcomes for older adults with complex care needs could be feasible in clinical care and a promising approach for quality measurement that could lead to improvements in person-centered care delivery for this population.   

    BMJ Quality and Safety. 2020. DOI: 10.1136/bmjqs-2020-012244

  • February 07, 2021

    By MedStar Team

    Organized by the Department of Continuing Professional Education, MedStar Health is offering a variety of CE conferences this spring that provide an opportunity to gain knowledge of new treatments and techniques and network with leaders in the field through interactive case studies and presentations. MedStar associates may earn CE credits and discounted registration is available. For more information and to stay up to date, please visit medstar.cloud-cme.com.

    Spring 2021

    Diabetic Limb Salvage (DLS 2021)
    April 7 to 10 – An Interactive Virtual Experience
    Conference Chairman: Christopher Attinger, MD; John Steinberg, DPM
    Course Directors: Cameron M. Akbari, MD; Karen Kim Evans, MD; J.P. Hong, MD, PhD
    MedStar Associates may attend complimentary using code: DLSMS

    Update on Diabetes XLIII
    April 15, 2021
    A Virtual Conference
    Course Directors: Issam E. Cheikh, MD; Paul A. Sack, MD
    Registration Opening Soon!

    Abdominal Wall Reconstruction (AWR 2021)
    June 9 to 12 – A Dynamic Virtual Conference with Expert Faculty
    Conference Chair: Parag Bhanot, MD
    Course Directors: Karen Kim Evans, MD; William W. Hope, MD; Jeffrey E. Janis, MD
    MedStar Associates may attend for $100 using code: AWRMS

    40th Annual Cherry Blossom Seminar: An Update on Arthroscopy, Arthroplasty and Sports Medicine
    April 23 to 24, 2021
    A Virtual Conference
    Course Chairman: M. Mike Malek, MD
    Course Co-Chairmen: Jeffrey S. Abrams, MD; Steven J. Svoboda, MD, Colonel (retired), US Army

    Esophageal Cancer Conference
    April 24, 2021
    A Virtual Conference
    Course Directors: Puja G. Khaitan, MD; Shervin Shafa, MD

    Frontline: Cardiovascular Care in the Community
    May 1, 2021
    A Virtual Conference
    Course Directors: Carolina I. Valdiviezo, MD; Allen J. Taylor, MD; Sriram Padmanabhan, MD
    Course Co-Director: James C. Welsh, MD, MBA, MPH

    Advances in the Management of Prostate, Kidney, and Bladder Cancers
    June 18 to 19, 2021
    Virtual Education
    Course Directors: Michael B. Atkins, MD; Keith J. Kowalczyk, MD;
    Ross E. Krasnow, MD, MPH; Young Kwok, MD; Paul D. Leger, MD, MPH;
    George K. Philips, MBBS, MD, MPH; Suthee Rapisuwon, MD

    3rd Annual MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute Symposium
    September 18 | A Virtual Conference
    Conference Chair: Thomas M. Fishbein, MD
    Course Directors: Matthew Cooper, MD; Alexander J. Gilbert, MD; Stuart S. Kaufman, MD; Rohit S. Satoskar, MD

    8th Annual Gastric and Soft Tissue Neoplasms
    September 25 | A Virtual Conference
    Course Directors: Waddah B. Al-Refaie, MD, FACS; Nadim Haddad, MD; Dennis A. Priebat, MD, FACP; Mark A. Steves, MD, FACS

    MedStar Associates use promotion code GSMG for complimentary registration!

    4th Annual MedStar Heart Failure Summit
    October 23 | A Virtual Conference
    Course Directors: Samer S. Najjar, MD; Mark R. Hofmeyer, MD

     

    SAVE THE DATE!

    13th Biennial Thyroid Update: New Concepts in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Thyroid Disease
    December 3 | A Virtual Meeting
    Course Directors: Kenneth D. Burman, MD; Jason A. Wexler, MD

    BC3 | Breast Cancer Coordinated Care: An Interdisciplinary Conference
    February 24 to 26, 2022
    JW Marriott, Washington, D.C.,
    Course Directors: Kenneth L. Fan, MD; Ian T. Greenwalt, MD; David H. Song, MD, MBA, FACS

    Diabetic Limb Salvage (DLS) 2022
    April 7 to 9, 2022
    A Hybrid Conference |JW Marriott and Online
    Conference Chairmen: Christopher E. Attinger, MD; John S. Steinberg, DPM
    Course Directors: Cameron M. Akbari, MD; Karen Kim Evans, MD; JP Hong, MD, PhD

    Abdominal Wall Reconstruction (AWR) 2022
    June 2022 | A Dynamic Virtual Conference with Expert Faculty
    Conference Chairman: Parag Bhanot, MD
    Course Directors: Karen Kim Evans, MD; William W. Hope, MD; Jeffrey E. Janis, MD

    For more information and to stay up to date, please visit medstar.cloud-cme.com

  • February 07, 2021

    By MedStar Team

    We are MedStar Health Proud of the MedStar Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (MPRS) department for their impressive effort in reaching over 100 publications and presentations in 2020. In 2020, MPRS published 79 papers and had another 24 accepted, up from 45 published in 2019.  

    “This remarkable effort - well over 100 papers published or accepting in a year – shows the true nature of our academic health system and the continued commitment of MedStar Health teams to advancing health through research,” said Neil J. Weissman, MD, Chief Scientific Officer, MedStar Health, President, MedStar Health Research Institute, and Professor of Medicine, Georgetown University. “This incredible effort is what us proud to be part of our system.” 

    “In spite of a tumultuous year, we have seen incredible research growth thanks to our outstanding research fellows, medical students, residents, and faculty,” said Kenneth L Fan, MD, Scientific Director, Plastic and Reconstructive SurgeryMedStar Health Research Institute. 

    Here are a few of selected research publications. View the full list here

    Does surgeon handedness or experience predict immediate complications after mastectomy? A critical examination of outcomes in a single health system.
    The Breast Journal, 2020. DOI: 10.1111/tbj.13487
    Luvisa K, Fan KL, Black CK, Wirth P, Won Lee D, Del Corral G, Willey SC, Song DH.

    Incidence of Major Arterial Abnormality in Patients with Wound Dehiscence after Lower Extremity Orthopedic Procedures.
    Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, DOI: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000007361
    Zolper EG, Kotha VS, Walters ET, Nigam M, Lakhiani CX, Fortman EC, Janhofer DE, Steinberg JS, Attinger CE, Evans KK.

    Time for a Consensus? Considerations of Ethical Social Media Use by Pediatric Plastic Surgeons
    Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 2020. DOI: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000007389.
    Hetzler PT, Makar KG, Baker SB, Fan KL, Vercler CJ

    The "Double hit": Free tissue transfer is optimal in comorbid population with irradiated wounds for successful limb salvage
    The Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery, 2020DOI10.1016/j.bjps.2020.10.054
    Deldar R, Black CK, Zolper EG, Wirth P, Luvisa K, Fan KL, Evans KK.

    Breast Surgery in the Time of Global Pandemic: Benefits of Same-Day Surgery for Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Mastectomy with Immediate Reconstruction during COVID-19.
    Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 2020. DOI: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000007269
    Perez-Alvarez IM, Bartholomew AJ, King CA, Lovett BL, Greenwalt IT, Song DH, Fan KL, Tousimis EA.

     
  • February 07, 2021

    By MedStar Team

    Researchers from MedStar Health Urgent Care/MedStar Ambulatory Services, MedStar Health Research Institute and Georgetown University recently published research to determine what percentage of preoperative asymptomatic patients tested positive for COVID-19 on a hospital-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing platform.  The researchers also sought to determine if there were certain demographics (ie, gender, age) which led to a higher pretest probability of an asymptomatic positive test.   

    "Incidence of SARS-CoV-2 in Preoperative Patients Tested in an Urgent Care Setting" was published in the Journal of Urgent Care Medicine. The emergence of COVID brought on unique challenges for healthcare professionals.  It was essential to have the capability to identify patients with COVID-19 before they undergo a surgical procedure to ensure safety to the patient, the surgical team, and postoperative staff. Given the fact that many patients with the virus never exhibit symptoms, proactive preoperative testing in the urgent care center may lower the risk of spread and help quantify the rate of asymptomatic infection.  

    As COVID began to spread more rapidly, there was higher demand in healthcare services including availability of healthcare personnel, equipment and hospital beds. To aid in conserving hospital resources and minimize exposure to COVID-19, semi-elective and elective procedures were suspended.  

    The research included a total of 1,262 patients scheduled to undergo elective or semi-elective procedure presenting to a MedStar Health Urgent Care facility or urgent care testing tent for a nasopharyngeal (NP) PCR test 1–5 days prior to their scheduled surgery. After testing, patients were advised to quarantine at home to minimize any new exposures to the virus prior to their surgical date.   

    The study results show that 29 (2.30%) patients tested positive for COVID-19. Patients between 20-29 years of age had the highest rate of positive cases around 6%. Patients over 80 years old or under 10 years old had no positive cases. However, the difference was not statistically significant. The data collected shows that gender is not a factor in rate of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases. As with age, our study shows that gender is not a factor in rate of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases. While females had a higher rate of positive asymptomatic tests (2.89%) compared with males (1.65%), the difference is not statistically significant.     

    The research team concluded the findings from this study support the continued practice of testing for SARS-CoV-2 in all preoperative patients, with a positivity rate of over 2% in asymptomatic patients.
     
    Because asymptomatic transmission is an important factor in the spread of the virus, all individuals, regardless of age and gender, should remain diligent to decrease the potential of asymptomatic transmission of the virus. Urgent care providers should take precautions prior to all patient interactions, not just patients with COVID-19 symptoms. Furthermore, these safeguards should be upheld with all patients regardless of gender or age. Additionally, these data suggest there are variables independent of gender and age that influence expression of symptoms of COVID-19.  

    Journal of Urgent Care Medicine, 2020. 15(4):33-36

  • February 04, 2021

    By Mouin S. Abdallah, MD, Cardiology

    Humans are warm-blooded—we maintain a steady internal body temperature, regardless of surrounding conditions. Under normal circumstances, that temperature remains at just below 99oF/37oC. This process happens automatically, without any effort on our part.

    But when we’re exposed to cold, the cardiovascular system must work harder to maintain this ideal body temperature and prevent hypothermia, a life-threatening condition. One mechanism that our body utilizes to maintain body temperature is vasoconstriction—narrowing of the blood vessels.

    When the vessels narrow, blood pressure and heart rate increase. In fit, healthy people, vasoconstriction typically creates relatively few concerns. But, for those with the following risk factors, this added cardiovascular stress can be dangerous to heart health and even lead to heart attack:

    • Advanced age
    • Excess weight
    • High blood pressure
    • Elevated cholesterol
    • Diabetes
    • History of smoking
    • Inactivity/lack of fitness
    • History of cardiovascular disease or heart attack

    Winter Risks Can Add Up

    Winter months in general can bring extra stress, including what’s known as the “holiday effect.” Studies have revealed an approximately four percent increase in cardiac deaths around the winter holidays, as we tend to travel more and sleep less and are more likely to indulge in unhealthy eating and drinking.

    Winter can also bring more sickness, in the form of colds, flu and other viral infections. This additional stress to the immune system can affect the heart. And although the current pandemic has certainly limited travel this winter, it has certainly increased society’s overall stress level.

    We also tend to be less active in cold weather, reducing overall fitness. And fewer hours of daylight may contribute to heart risks as well, though we’re not yet sure exactly why.

    It’s safe to say that winter brings multiple stress factors—and they can begin to add up.

    But it’s cold weather that poses the most significant risk of cardiac illness in wintertime. Winter temperatures literally act like a stress test, putting an extra load on the heart. In fact, cold can increase an individual’s risk of cardiac problems by over 30 percent throughout the season. Life in a snowy area can be even more problematic—the strenuous activity of shoveling snow can put a dangerous strain on the heart, especially for people who don’t exercise regularly.

    Cold temperatures could contribute to plaque rupture, which occurs when bits of plaque in the arteries break loose. Like rust in a pipe, plaque forms on the interior walls of an artery, narrowing the opening. And like rust, external forces can dislodge it. As the arteries experience vasoconstriction when exposed to cold, the bits of plaque create thrombus in the artery which may then block a coronary artery and starve the heart of oxygen—the beginning of a heart attack.

    In winter temperatures, blood vessels narrow, and blood pressure and heart rate increase, causing the heart to work harder. This can lead to heart attack. More from Dr. Abdallah. https://bit.ly/3aA9RHj via @MedStarWHC
    Click to Tweet

    Bundle Up

    Everyone—including patients with some of the inherent risk factors we listed above—can take common-sense precautions to protect the heart when temperatures dip. Here are some winter heart health tips:

    • There’s a saying that there’s no such thing as harsh weather, only inadequate clothing. And it turns out your mother was right: If you’re uncomfortable out in the cold, you’re not dressed properly!
      Keeping the core warm helps to protect the heart and keeps more blood moving to the extremities. Fingers and toes tend to suffer injury first when exposed to extreme or long-term wind and cold. If your fingers are cold, you need better gloves or mittens. Keep your feet warm and dry. A hat prevents heat loss through the head. A scarf protects the neck. If you feel chilled or uncomfortable, move indoors.
    • If you are mostly sedentary and do not exercise regularly, it may be advisable to skip a big snow-shoveling project—it could be hazardous to your heart. Even regular exercisers should take care with shoveling, which uses different muscle groups than a typical workout. As with other physical activities, warm up with a brisk walk or light calisthenics before shoveling. Take frequent breaks, stay hydrated, and get to a warmer space if you feel chilled.
    • Stay prepared for wintry weather, which can come on suddenly. Keep your car’s gas tank filled and your cellphone battery charged. Let loved ones know where you are going and how long you plan to stay. And don’t go out at all if severe weather is predicted. Other than a medical emergency, most activities can wait until roads are clear.

    Know the Warning Signs

    On a wintry day, head indoors if you are short of breath or feel pain, pressure, or burning in the chest. These are classic warning signs of a heart attack; however, keep in mind that every patient’s experience is unique. Some feel tightness in the chest; others report pressure, like someone sitting on the chest. Some feel discomfort in the neck, jaw, or left arm and shoulder. And symptoms can vary widely between men and women.

    The chest is a crowded area, home to muscle, bones, and organs. It takes an experienced physician to evaluate heart health and determine if chest pain in cold weather is originating from the heart. So it’s critical to seek attention immediately if you feel chest discomfort. When the heart is involved, the longer you wait, the more likely you are to become sicker, with further complications.

    Besides taking your health history and completing a physical exam, we can administer tests to determine if the heart is in trouble, including EKG and blood tests. If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to keep you safe, and it’s much safer to go to the hospital for a false alarm than to stay home with a cardiac event. Thousands die each year by making the wrong choice.

    We’re Here for You During the Pandemic

    MedStar Washington Hospital Center is among the safest places you can be at any time, and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand the coronavirus and how to protect our patients and staff. And we understand that COVID-19 itself—and its detrimental impact on the lungs—can also be harmful to heart health. So during the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to get your regular checkups, stay in touch with your doctor, and seek medical assistance immediately if you experience any discomfort in your chest.

    MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute is nationally recognized as one of the nation’s top cardiovascular programs. We utilize the latest technologies in the diagnosis and treatment of the most complex cardiac cases, including valve surgery and heart transplantation. Our team includes accomplished, experienced clinicians trained at the world’s finest institutions and hospitals.

    MedStar Washington Hospital Center’s Emergency Department and Trauma Center operate at the same high standards. In service to an always-busy metropolitan area, our Emergency Medicine team is specially trained to take care of cardiac emergencies of all types. Our cardiologists and cardiac catheterization lab are available around the clock for emergency procedures as well.

    Stay Heart-Healthy This Winter

    Keep warm and follow these heart-healthy habits to help avoid heart issues in cold weather:

    • Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
    • Avoid nicotine and limit alcohol—both can serve as vasoconstrictors and increase your chances of cardiac complications.
    • Try for at least 50 minutes of moderate exercise, three times each week, or more. But if this amount of activity isn’t possible, anything you do to increase your level of activity will serve to help your heart.
    • Practice healthy relaxation techniques to reduce stress that may be harmful to your heart.

    Chest pain this winter?

    Our cardiology team can help.

    Call 202-788-5048 or Request an Appointment