Heart Attack Season: Staying Healthy After the Holidays
The holiday season is a time for celebrating, but did you know that December and January are the peak months during which people experience heart trouble? There are several reasons for this, but luckily much of the risk can be prevented if you keep these tips in mind during the holidays.
Eating a large meal, especially one that is high in fat, can potentially lead to a heart attack. Studies have shown that after eating a heavy meal, your body is at risk for the next two hours. Because blood is diverted from the heart to aid digestion, people can experience heart-related chest pain.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
While drinking alcohol in moderation can be good for your heart, drinking too much can cause problems. For healthy adults, moderation means up to one drink per day for women of all ages and men over the age of 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger. Indulging in too many drinks can cause your blood pressure to rise and trigger an irregular heartbeat. This can lead to weakness, dizziness, and chest pain.
With all of the holiday sweets, alcoholic drinks, and heavy meals you enjoy during the holidays, it can be easy to blame chest pain on acid reflux. Because of this, many people who were actually in the early stages of a heart attack assumed that it was simply heartburn. If you are experiencing any kind of chest pain, it is important to get it checked out.
Take it Easy in Cold Weather
If you have heart disease or are at high risk for it, being careful when participating in outdoor activities is especially important during the winter. Cold weather can cause your blood vessels to constrict. This triggers the release of hormones and can increase your risk of having a heart attack. Whether you’re sledding outside with the family or shoveling snow after a blizzard, it is important to act cautiously and not overexert yourself.
Seek Care Immediately
Many times people who aren’t feeling well don’t want to spend their holiday time in the emergency room. Instead, they simply wait for the pain to go away. However, the sooner you get help, the better off you are. Heart-muscle cells begin to die when they have a lack of blood supply, so seeing a doctor at the first sign of an issue is the best option.
Don’t ring in the New Year with a post-holiday heart attack. Remember these tips during your family celebrations and keep your heart healthy.