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28 Dec, 2011

Tips to Avoid a Holiday Heart Attack

(PRWEB) December 26, 2011 — It’s a tragic fact: heart attacks peak the day after Christmas and on New Year’s Day. USA Today reports that it’s a problem throughout the entire season: more people die of heart attacks in the winter than during any other time of year (http://on.wzzm.com/tmgWTM). And although doctors don’t have an exact reason for the spike, there are several theories including shorter days, colder temperatures, poorer health and more stress. Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil agrees with many of these suggestions and offers people tips for how to have a heart-healthy holiday.

First, don’t live in denial. This time of year, flu season is in full swing and people are taking on more and more responsibility. “There can be a temptation to ‘power through,'” says Dr. Bonnie, “but you might end up only hurting yourself. When people get sick around the holidays, many are likely to put off treating their illness.” Instead, Dr. Bonnie advises people at this time of year, more than ever, to take the rest they need and see a doctor if they need to. “The fallacy is thinking something will go away or that it can be dealt with after the holidays. For some, that is just too late.”

Don’t over-extend yourself. Of course, prevention is the best cure. Don’t go out in bad weather. Stay warm. Don’t do too many outdoor activities in cold temperatures and don’t stay up too late wrapping all those presents. “Basically, do all the things your mother told you to do!” reminds Dr. Bonnie. It’s important to remember to exercise and eat well, to take medication and vitamins. “These are all common sense things,” admits Dr. Bonnie, “but most people could do with an extra dose of common sense during this time of year.”

Don’t worry about ruining someone’s holiday. Putting on a brave face to ensure the perfect day can come at a great health risk. People need to remember that it’s better to insist on remaining in bed – or even going to the hospital if need be – than to push too far and end up much sicker in the long run, or suffer from a heart attack.

Eat well, but more than anything – just try to worry less! Doctors suggest that the extra sweets, salt and sugar around this time of year could contribute to more deaths. However people eat poorly year round. Of course it’s a good idea to eat as healthfully as you can but researchers suggest that stress could play more of a factor than food. People have more to think about nowadays with economic issues and financial stress so perhaps an increase in heart attacks isn’t surprising. But obsessing over the possibility of a heart attack can be dangerous and self-reinforcing.

Instead of rushing around and becoming susceptible to illness, burnout, or even a heart attack, Dr. Bonnie reminds people about the most important part of the season – spending quality time with loved ones. It doesn’t have to be perfect and people shouldn’t have to put on a brave face if they’re feeling stressed or under the weather. This is the time of year when people come together to be supportive, so Dr. Bonnie advises people utilize the extra hands as much as possible. “And if that last gift doesn’t get wrapped, so be it!”