Holiday Heart Attacksadmin
New Study Finds Odds of Having a Heart Attack Increase on Christmas Eve
“Surviving the holidays” is a saying commonly used in jest to comment on the stress that comes with spending extended time with family, eating and drinking too much, and getting into arguments over who has a better cookie recipe. However, a new study in Sweden has found that the odds of having a heart attack increase by nearly 40% on Christmas Eve.
Traditional holidays were associated with increased risk of heart attack. The risk overall during Christmas/New Year’s was 15% higher than a regular December day,” study senior author Dr. David Erlinge of Skane University Hospital said.
According to WedMD, “Erlinge noted that the 15-year study of more than 300,000 heart attack patients suggested that the risk was highest at 10pm on Christmas Eve.” But why is this the case? The team still isn’t sure. While they identified an association, they still haven’t been able to identify a particular cause, but suggest that “external triggers” may be to blame. These can include emotional distress, anger, anxiety, sadness, grief and stress. “Excessive food intake, alcohol and long distance travel may also up the odds of a heart attack” according to Erlinge.
Both Erlinge and cardiologist Dr. Peter Mercurio of Northern Westchester Hospital encouraged individuals who are already at risk, primarily the elderly and those with known heart issues, to be especially aware of this phenomenon and encourage family and friends to help alleviate unnecessary stress. Being sure to take medications as directed and going easy on the rich foods and desserts associated with the holiday season are also ways to reduce the risk of having a heart attack.