All the things associated with this Christmas season are also the things that are behind an up tick in Christmas coronaries; eating, drinking and stressing. But as Nancy Naeve Brown tells us one the biggest factors for this deadly heart disease month could be denial.
The Avera Heart Hospital Emergency Department always braces for a busy December and January the deadliest months nationally for heart disease. Many of the things that make the season merry can be blamed as the culprits.
Cardiologist Dr. David Nagelhout with North Central Heart says, "We're not real clear why these things happen, but thought that is has to do with emotional tress, travel, unfamiliar surroundings, potential diet, alcohol, salt, a lot of variability."
Dr Nagelhout says part of the problem is that people who are having symptoms of a heart attack like chest pain, pressure, arm pain, shortness of breath often shrug them off as indigestion or don't want to upset the apple cart to go to the E.R.
Dr. Nagelhout says, "Our tendency is denial for instance. We don't want to bother other people, but if you wait too long 1/2 hour to an hour while having a heart attack it can make all the difference and something bad can happen so people need to get in right away."
And your ride to the ER really should be an ambulance, not your car.
Dr. Nagelhout says, "They have defib, they all the right things that are required in case of an emergency. People tend to under estimate the severity or risk of heart attack. You could have an arrhythmia your heart can stop and if that happens on the way to the hospital in a car, and believe me we see that all the he time, what are you doing to do? You aren't going to do CPR while you are driving on the way to the hospital. Those extra minutes make a huge difference."
So the lesson is if you are having symptoms of a heart attack break up the party and call 911. Trust me, your family won't mind for a minute especially when minutes count.
Another thing to keep in mind this holiday; the extra pound so many of us gain this time of year could haunt us long-term. In the short term, a heavy, high-fat meal stresses the heart at it's digested.