Wednesday, 23 December 2015

The day after Christmas is hazardous for your heart

December 26th is historically one of the most dangerous days of the year for people vulnerable to cardiac problems, including heart attacks, arrhythmias, sudden cardiac death and heart failure.

Studies indicate that heart-related deaths increase by nearly 5% during holidays, perhaps because patients delay seeking treatment for heart attacks and also because hospital staffing patterns change. The study found quiet ER on Christmas Day with a sudden surge on December 26. It was also found that daily visits to hospitals for heart failure increased by 33% during the four days after Christmas. 

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr. A Marthanda Pillai – National President and Padma Shri Awardee Dr. KK Aggarwal – Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement said. “The tendency to over-indulge during the winter and festive months can have severe health implications on people. It is important to educate people about the importance of following a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and staying away from alcohol for a healthy heart. It is essential that people limit the consumption of food high in trans fats, sugar and salt and replace them with fresh fruits and vegetables to stay healthy”.

Winter is anyway known to be notorious for heart attacks, heart failures, and arrhythmias. Cold weather is hard on the heart. Blood vessels constrict, which raises blood pressure. Blood also clots more readily. Frigid temperatures increase strain on the heart, and too much physical exertion can worsen the burden and trigger a heart attack. Alcohol if consumed in excessive amount during Christmas can trigger atrial fibrillation, a form of irregular heartbeat. If it persists, atrial fibrillation can end up with stroke.

But cold weather isn't the only culprit. After Christmas Day, many people confuse the signs of a heart attack -- like shortness of breath or chest pains -- with indigestion from a heavy dinner.  If you're having a heart attack, studies show that you must not wait longer than 12 hours to be treated. It is essential if people at high risk of heart attacks notice any unusual symptoms; they consult their doctor to rule out any emergency.

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