The ‘Merry Christmas Coronary’ and the ‘Happy New Year Heart Attack’

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

Did you know that December 26th (celebrated as our Boxing Day holiday in the UK, Australia, Germany, Greenland, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and here in Canada) is historically one of the most dangerous days of the year for people vulnerable to cardiac problems?

And many of these Merry Christmas Coronaries will hit people who didn’t even realize they were at risk when they unwrapped their gifts the day before.

Dr. Samin Sharma, director of interventional cardiology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, says:

“This time of year is notorious for heart attacks, heart failures, and arrhythmias.”

It’s widely accepted that the holiday season tends to see increased numbers of cardiac events. One study in 2004 by researchers at the University of California, San Diego and Tufts University found that heart-related deaths increase by 5% during these holidays. Another study in 2008  found that daily visits to hospitals for heart failure increased by 33% during the four days after Christmas.

Anecdotally, cardiologists often report that their hospital Emergency Departments stay relatively quiet on Christmas Day itself. Then, come December 26th, they see a surge of cardiac traffic. Continue reading “The ‘Merry Christmas Coronary’ and the ‘Happy New Year Heart Attack’”

Help your heart by de-stressing for the holiday season

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

Ah, Christmas. . .  Joy to the world, peace on earth, blahblahblah. For some, the Hallmark card fantasy of the perfect family Christmas is nigh impossible to achieve without the accompanying requisite levels of artery-damaging stress and anxiety by the time the New Year arrives.  As Michele Meyer wrote in Heart Healthy Living:

“Whether your family resembles the Waltons or the Sopranos, few family gatherings are without potential for unspoken tensions.”

And psychologist Dr. Susan Heitler reminds us in the the same article:

“Both unresolved resentment and anxious anticipation of conflict during the holidays can harm your heart by spiking anger and depression. The higher the level of emotional arousal, the more stress on your heart.”

If you’re sometimes tempted to just skip Christmas and go straight to Mother’s Day, consider some of these stress-busting tips this year from Toronto author Susan Stern (Awakening Your Life Skills) who says that we should all start a plan in advance for de-stressing the holiday season as much as possible.   For example:  Continue reading “Help your heart by de-stressing for the holiday season”