Most cardiac deaths, risks happen during the holiday break

(Dakota News Now)
Published: Dec. 29, 2022 at 8:20 PM EST
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(WBNG) - During three winter season dates, experts are coming to terms with the alarming trend of heightened risks for heart attack or other heart complications.

According to a study published in Circulation, that’s the flagship journal of the American Heart Association, the holiday season tends to bring more cardiac deaths and risks than any other time of the year.

When it comes to the uptick in cases, three specific dates come to mind.

Christmas leads the trio, Dec. 26 is second, and then Jan. 1 is the third highest date for numbers.

Executive Director Franklin Fry with the American Heart Association Greater Syracuse Division went over some of the leading factors that impact our cardiovascular health.

“There’s the stress of travel, of planning, of packing, coordinating, all the details that go into any of our holiday plans and travel itineraries. So we have that added into disruption of our normal patterns,” said Fry. “Our sleep patterns get disrupted, we might be a little sloppier with our medication adherence if we’re traveling and visiting someone, our dietary patterns might get disrupted, we might not get our regular exercise. So just the disruption.”

Another factor affecting cardiovascular health: excessiveness. Fry said we tend to eat more sweets during the holidays, likely consume more sodium snacks, and more alcohol.

Fry also shared some coping mechanisms for stress that can affect the heart.

“Start with stress reduction, start with just simple breathing,” said Fry. “Taking a few moments for six or seven or eight breaths with your eyes closed. Do that two or three times a day. If you feel yourself getting stressful, take a walk, count to 10 before you say something, find something to shake-up what it is you’re focusing on maybe break down a problem into smaller pieces so you can achieve something. Focus on your stress.”

When it comes to improving sleep patterns to benefit the heart, for example, Fry recommended everyone to strive for a consistent seven to eight hours of sleep.

For more resources on cardiovascular health, the American Heart Association website.