Recent medical studies show that Americans who have heart attacks around the holidays — specifically, the time between Christmas and New Year’s Day — are more likely to die than people who have heart attacks at other times of the year, according to Dr. Robert Kloner, cardiologist at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, California.
Not one wants to have a heart attack but you should be aware of when most heart attacks occur:
Factors to consider:
♦ The onset of cold weather as winter begins. 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.
♦ Increased depression and emotional stress. Depression is most prominent during the holidays, especially among older people for whom the holidays can invoke a sense of loss for happier times, or for loved ones who are no longer present. It is also a known risk factor for heart attacks, and likely explains at least some fo the increased risk. The added emotional stress of the holiday season may also contribute to some degree.
♦ Overindulgence of fatty foods and alcohol.
♦ Delay in seeking medical attention. Many people ignore the telltale signs.
Telltale signs of a Heart Attack for Women (according to ActiveBeat.com):
1. Breathing Difficulties. Shortness of breath is a common and very frightening precursor to a heart attack if you’re women. It may come suddenly and without warning (i.e. not following physical activity), for no apparent reason.
2. Heavy Perspiration. One may break out in a cold, clammy sweat when you have to present at a company meeting. However, many women suffering a heart attack start perspiring without stressors present. Don’t mistake a hot flash or blame it on their menstrual cycle.
3. Disrupted Sleep: Women who have suffered a heart attack often recall waking up in the middle of deep sleep unable to catch their breath. This form of sleep apnea can occur during a heart attack, compressing the upper airway and robbing the core of essential blood flow.
4. Exhaustion. We all experience fatigue when we burn the candle at both ends–taking care of everyone else but ourselves. Heart attacks are sneaky in this regard, zapping women of energy, even when getting adequate sleep and eating right.
5. Stomach cramps. Abdominal pain that is often shrugged off with the statement, ‘it must be something I ate!” often ends in a heart attack for unsuspecting women.
6. Sharp Upper Body Pain. While men may feel “the weight of an elephant” sitting on their chests–heart attacks for women often cause sharp pains in the upper body. It’s common for women to complain of severe, shooting pain or dull, gradually mounting pain in the neck, upper arms, or jaw.
7. Rapid Heart Rate. An Intensely rushing heartbeat will commonly accompany feelings of intense anxiety and perspiration in women suffering a heart attack. One might think you’re having a heart attack, because it strikes suddenly, your heart overexerting, during a non-stressful endeavor.
8. Chest Pain. While the crushing chest pain that men experience during a heart attack is less intense for women, chest pain can still occur leading up to and during a heart attack. Although instead of pain, women rather feel tight discomfort, commonly described as a full feeling across the entire chest, not solely on the left side of the chest.
Ways to Avoid a Holiday Heart Attack:
Don’t spoil the holiday merrymaking if you experience any of the above symptoms. Get help!
Have a fabulous and healthy week!