Heart attack deaths spike during Christmas break week

Heart risks on rise during December

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – More people die from heart attacks during the last week of December than any other time of the year, that’s according to the American Heart Association. A recent study published in Circulation, the Journal of the American Heart Association, reported that more cardiac deaths occur in the U.S. on December 25 than on any other day of the year, followed by December 26 and January 1.

Doctors and Researchers don’t know exactly what triggers the increase but it’s likely a combination of factors. Winter weather has been noted to increase heart attack risk due to restricted blood flow when arteries may be constricted in cold temperatures. The holidays also bring a lot of added stress and parties and family gatherings where many tend to overindulge in rich foods and drink.

Dr. Christopher Cove is a Cardiologist at UR Medicine and tells News10NBC that it’s typical for his office to be very busy this time of year. “I think knowing the signs of a heart attack is very important this time of year, probably more than most, he says. “Obviously, chest pain, chest pressure, shortness of breath, palpitations, light headed, dizziness.”

Dr. Cove suggests paying close attention to your body. “Know yourself, know your symptoms…take care of yourself, the single most important person to take care of is yourself during the holidays. I think we tend to think of others, you’ve got to take care of yourself first, try to eat healthy, try to exercise, and make sure to take your medications,” he advises.

He also suggests at least one person in your household get trained in CPR. “The number one place for people to have a cardiac arrest is at home because that’s where we spend most of our time and so learning home CPR will save a life,” Dr. Cove says. “I can’t tell you how many cases I have of patients that have been saved by their family knowing CPR.”

More information here.