POSTED: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - 5:20pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - 6:17pm
Tyler, TX — The holidays can be stressful on your body. Between lack of sleep and sometimes a change in diet with all those holiday parties, doctors are warning against "Holiday Heart Syndrome."
Many people aren't aware, but the cold weather can affect your arteries! So be careful this winter, because you might mistake a heart attack for indigestion after enjoying a meal at a holiday party.
Stress, alcohol, sodium, heart attack? "High stress, high salty foods, tend to mask some of the symptoms of heart attacks and other heart conditions and people put it off," said Cassie Ebert, Exercise Specialist at ETMC Olympic Center. Research from the American Heart Association shows heart-related deaths and illnesses rise in the Winter.
Doctors say "Holiday Heart Syndrome" is an irregular heart beat and can affect you even if you are otherwise healthy. "It's a heart attack that occurs that's not associated with the usual cardiovascular risks," said Dr. David Hector, Interventional Cardiologist at Tyler CVC.
This seasonal sickness can be a result of stress, lack of sleep, and excessive alcohol or caffeine intake. "During the holidays don't change the way you eat, if you're eating healthy throughout the year, make sure you're still eating low fat low calorie," said Ebert. She says holiday treats only add to heart problems.
"Typically when one has a salt load, it causes difficulty with fluid retention and the fluid retention causes them to be short of breath," said Hector. Don't let the stress and cold temperatures of the Christmas season send you to the emergency room. Hector said, "Usually people are out in the cold for the first time, and that puts stress on them." Studies show, December is the deadliest month of the year for heart attacks.
Ebert says to be sure to exercise regularly, eat right, and take your medication to help keep your heart healthy this season.