GRANADA HILLS ( — The cold temperatures hitting Southern California may just be a nuisance for some people, but it could actually cause major problems for those with weak hearts.

Cardiologists said there’s a chance the chilly weather could cause someone to suffer from a heart attack.

“The body metabolism actually goes down. The metabolism decreases, the heart rate also goes down. This causes electrolyte imbalances and can give rise to cardiac arrest,” said Dr. Juma Bharadia from California Hospital Medical Center.

Doctors said people with previous heart conditions are at most risk, especially if they’re outside unprepared in temperatures that have dropped into the low 30s or 20s.

“The arteries become extremely small and that gives rise to cardiac metabolic abnormalities and, therefore, cardiac arrest,” said Bharadia.

KCAL9’s Amy Johnson reported it’s important for people to dress properly in the cold weather.

She also said those with prior heart conditions should avoid overexerting themselves.

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