Many of us look forward to the surprises that occur on Christmas. There is one surprise, however, that is never welcome. It seems as if heart attacks are more likely to occur on December 24 according to a new study.
The Swedish study was published in the British Medical Journal. It revealed that your cardiac health takes a beating because of the holidays and Christmas Eve is prime time for suffering a heart attack.
The research involved 283,014 participants and spanned 16 years between 1998 and 2014. The participants had all suffered a heart attack and the researchers analyzed and tracked the symptoms and other factors that were associated with those cardiac events.
The scientists found that the risk of myocardial infarction increased by 37% during that time of year. They were also able to pinpoint the hour when the event was likely to occur.
The biggest problem happened at 10 PM on Christmas Eve.
When an individual is older, such as those over the age of 75 and they have histories of medical conditions, such as diabetes and coronary artery disease, they are at a higher risk compared to younger individuals.
This study was conducted to see if sporting events and holidays acted as triggers for heart attacks. It also found that Christmas Day and New Year’s Day were also bad days for the heart. The good news is, you don’t have to worry about New Year’s Eve or Super Bowl day.
Mondays and early morning hours (before 8 AM) also carried a higher risk for heart attacks.
This is double trouble this year because Christmas Eve is on a Monday.
Why Is Christmas Eve so Dangerous?
You may be wondering why you are at a higher risk for a heart attack on the night before Christmas. Researchers are not able to come to a specific conclusion but there are some theories.
“We do not know for sure but many mechanisms may be involved of which emotional distress with acute experience of anger, anxiety, sadness, grief, and stress increases the risk of myocardial infarction,” researcher David Erlinge at Lund University’s Department of Cardiology said.
He added, “Excessive food intake, alcohol, long distance traveling may also increase the risk of heart attack.”
Heart attacks occur in the United States every 40 seconds. That adds up to about 790,000 people who have a heart attack every year. One in five of those heart attacks are ‘silent’ attacks.
When you wait a longer amount of time after the heart attack, more damage will occur to the heart muscle. Recognizing the signs and symptoms so treatment can occur as soon as possible is important.
Heart attack symptoms include chest pain, sweating, shortness of breath, discomfort in the throat, neck, and jaw, stomach pain, heartburn, as well as arm, back and chest pain.
Each person will likely have their own, specific symptoms and women might have different symptoms than men. For women, it may include body pain, fatigue, changes in body temperature and dizziness.
If you or someone you know is having these symptoms, do not hesitate to contact 911.