The holiday season can be known as a joyous time, filled with family gatherings, good food, and fun parties. But, there are many negative aspects to the holidays that contribute to the spike in heart disease deaths during the holiday season. These aspects include, stress, loneliness, and excessive eating and drinking.
The holiday season can be stressful due to traveling, planning family gatherings and holiday parties, and increased spending. According to Harvard Health, this stress can cause chest pain and trigger heart attacks. To reduce this stress, set a certain budget for gifts and plan ahead for family gatherings and parties.
In order to cope with loneliness or stress, many people over-indulge in drinking. According to Harvard Health, over-indulgence in drinking is known as “holiday heart syndrome”. Symptoms of this syndrome include the sensation that your heart is skipping or racing beats, pain, heaviness in the chest, faintness, and shortness of breath. The American Heart Association recommends one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.
Excessive Eating & Delaying Care
Throughout the holiday season, eating is the center of many holiday gatherings. According to Harvard Health, eating too much can cause heartburn. Heartburn can feel like a heart attack and because it feels like a heart attack, many people go to the emergency room. Unfortunately, many people who are having a heart attack will believe it is heartburn when reality it is a heart attack, and delay going to the emergency room.
Tips for a Healthier Holiday Season
Being heart healthy during the holiday season will make the holiday season more enjoyable for you and your family. Here are a few tips on how to have a heart healthy holiday season:
-Find time for physical activity
-Take the flu shot
-Take time to relax
-Have family and friends help you plan out holiday parties
-Set a limit for eating and drinking