A new study has found that there is a peak in the number of heart attacks during the holiday season – and on Christmas Eve in particular.
According to the Swedish study, there is a 37 percent increased risk of heart attacks during the holidays – and there are 15 percent more heart attacks on Christmas Eve than a typical day.
Although heavy eating and drinking could be seen as a possible cause, the large study looked at many of the major holidays and sporting events where people tend to overeat and drink – and the peak was not present.
Experts speculate that Christmas Eve can be an exceptionally stressful night for some due to issues such as spending time with family and spending a budget.
Andreas Bergdahl, director of Concordia cardiovascular laboratory, had some advice.
"It's more important what you do between New Year's Eve and Christmas than what you do between Christmas and New Year's Eve – if you understand what I mean. It's more in the long run, you have to think of activity, exercise, what you eat.Try to reduce the amount of saturated fats you eat, salty foods, "he said.
Bergdahl also said that the activity level is based on age and ability.
"If all you can do is take a walk around the block, do that. That's great. Like what I do – I have a lot of fun going tobogganing with my kids. It's a great workout. Cross-country skiing – enjoy winter sports. Skating, skiing, all that, "he said.
Bergdahl also reminded people of the major signs of heart attack in men and women. Do not look so much for that classic pain in the arms, he said, adding that instead the focus should be on heavy chest pressure and intense fatigue. This combination is a great warning sign, Bergdahl said.
See Andreas Bergdahl interview above.