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Why do heart attack rates spike during the holiday season?

A recent study published in the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation, has highlighted a concerning trend: Heart attack deaths in the U.S. peak during the last week of December, with the highest number occurring on December 25, followed by December 26 and January 1.

This alarming statistic is attributed to a mix of factors prevalent during the holiday season. Cold weather, known to constrict arteries and restrict blood flow, combined with the stress of the holidays, and the tendency for people to overindulge in rich foods and drinks, are believed to contribute to the increased risk of heart attacks during this time.


Cardiologists note that the holiday season is typically a busy time for heart-related emergencies. He stresses the importance of being aware of heart attack symptoms such as chest pain, pressure, shortness of breath, palpitations, and dizziness. They urges individuals to prioritize self-care during the holidays, including healthy eating, regular exercise, and adherence to medication regimens.

Healthcare experts also recommend that at least one person in every household learn CPR, emphasizing its life-saving potential, especially since most cardiac arrests occur at home. This advice comes as a timely reminder for individuals to remain vigilant about their heart health during the festive season.