Heart attack risk increases between Christmas and New Year’s Day
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The holiday season is a time of increased eating and drinking, spending less time exercising, and even stress. All of these can contribute to a higher risk of a heart attack.
“So, we know that there are our traditional risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, but around the holidays, there seems to be a little bit increased risk,” said Dr. Federico De Puy, an intermission cardiologist at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital.
De Puy said the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day shows the highest number of heart attacks.
“One study showed the highest death rate was on Christmas Day, followed by the day after Christmas. The third highest death rate was on New Year’s Day,” explained De Puy.
Changes to your normal routine could be increasing your risk, according to Dr. Keith Kellum.
“It seems to correlate around changes in patients’ routines with increasing levels of stress, decreasing exercise, and decreased sleep,” said Kellum. “Overindulgence in food and then, I think oftentimes patients will ignore the warning signs of a heart attack.”
But knowing the warning signs can help save your life or the life of a loved one.
“Chest pain, particularly chest pain that is in the middle of your chest that lasts for more than a few minutes. Pain that radiates to your jaw or numbness in your arms to the left or the right side. All those can be early warning signs of a heart attack,” explained Kellum.
It’s important to pay attention to symptoms.
“So, I think if you miss the warning signs of a heart attack, you’re going to potentially miss the ability to receive lifesaving treatment. Calling 911, particularly, paramedics to perform CPR or other alternatives, could save lives,” added Kellum.
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