How to cut your risk of deadly heart attacks during the holidays

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — There’s a lot of hustle and bustle this time of year thanks to the holidays, meaning it can be easy to forget about your heart health. In fact, American Heart Association studies show distinct spikes around Christmas and New Year’s Day for deadly heart attacks.

AHA studies show the number of cardiac deaths is higher on December 25th than on any other day of the year, second highest on December 26th, and third highest on January 1st. Why? Winter is hard on the heart –blood vessels constrict, raising blood pressure and causing blood clots.

Colder temperatures can strain the heart too much. Physical exertion can worsen the burden and trigger a heart attack. Children and the elderly are most at risk. The best way to avoid it is by staying as warm as possible with layers of clothing and by staying in heated buildings.

Many people also have poor lifestyle choices during the holidays. Emotional stress, overindulging in food and alcohol and a lack of exercise all increase heart attack risk. Be sure to continue your gym routine, try at-home exercise plans, and find ways to alter your favorite holiday recipe to be more heart healthy.

It’s also important to recognize heart attack symptoms and don’t put them off. Don’t wait to call 911 and take a CPR class so you know what to do in an emergency.

The holidays are also a good time to press reset and focus on a heart healthy lifestyle. Dr. Kristen Michael with UAB Medical West says New Year’s resolutions are a great way to become more dedicated to your heart health and take your health care provider’s advice.

If you’d like more tips on how to live a more heart healthy lifestyle, check out the Central Alabama AHA branch out by clicking here. You can also find them on social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also follow the hashtag, #HeartHealthyAL

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