The holiday season is also the season for heart attack

Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee
President, Heart Care Foundation of India

A look at a U.S. database of 53 million deaths occurring between 1973 and 2001 reveals that deaths from heart disease peak in December/January, with spikes on Christmas and New Year’s Day.

1. People with symptoms of heart trouble tend to delay going to the doctor prior to the holidays as they do not want to spoil holiday fun.

2. They are less likely to see their physicians over this period of time in order to get the acute care they may need.

3. During the holidays, many people take a break from their diet and exercise programs.

4. The amount of time spent eating out and eating over at friends and family becomes more than usual.

5. It becomes easier to find excuses not to stay on an exercise regimen.

6. Alcohol consumption can increase during the holidays, which can contribute to something called “holiday heart syndrome.”

7. Alcohol has a toxic effect on the heart muscle. It can lead to atrial fibrillation — an abnormal heart rhythm, which is a classic finding of the holiday heart.

8. The hectic pace of the holiday season can cause people to forget to take medications such as blood thinners and pills for high blood pressure. Such lapses can lead to acute coronary trouble.

9. Winter is any way the peak season for heart attacks. Most heart attacks and paralysis due to brain haemorrhage peak during early morning periods of winter season due to sudden rise in BP reading.