The Holiday's are a busy time of year filled with family, food and stress and that can put stress on your heart. Data shows more people have heart attacks this time of year compared to other months of the year. Cardiologists say you can't be too busy to ignore your heart health.
December and January are the deadliest months for heart disease and many of the things that make the season merry are also to blame. Eating more rich fatty meals, more alcohol, more family all equals more stress. Cardiologists say you need know the symptoms.
Dr. Tarek Mahrous, a Cardiologist with North Central Heart Institute says, "The symptom are chest tightness or pressure, a heaviness like a squeezing sensation. Anything in the chest that's abnormal. Often times it will be associated with shortness of breath, you become very sweaty, diphoretic, nauseated, lightheaded and dizzy."
Often times Dr. Mahrous says those symptoms will come-on during exertion. During this time of year that can frequently be when you're shoveling. But if you feel like that when you are sitting down it can suggest an acute heart attack you need to call 911 immediately. Ideally, they want to open your clogged arteries within 60 to 90 minutes of the attack.
Dr. Mahrous says, "Heart muscle can be killed off within minutes. The sooner you get to the hospital with unstable heart symptoms the better."
Dr. Mahrous says more people tend to ignore the symptoms of a heart attack during the holidays because they don't want to disrupt the festivities and that can be a deadly mistake.
The doctor says, "A lot of folks are visiting family and may be from out of town, not familiar with the surroundings. Don't want to leave the table. Want to stay with family so they ignore the symptoms and hope it goes away and sometimes they don't so by the time they come to the hospital they may be sicker and beyond the ability to adequately treat them."
Denial is a heart attacks best friend and it can act like a ticking time bomb. Don't wait for your new years resolution to kick in before you have your ticker checked.
Research also suggests the extra pounds many of you gain during the holidays could haunt you long-term. Right away, a heavy high-fat meal stresses the heart as it's digested. Blood pressure and heart rate increases and the lining of the arteries become temporarily more prone to clotting.