Preventing holiday heart emergencies

It may be the most wonderful time of the year – but not always for your heart.

“The holidays are a time for being with our families and a time of joy for many,” said Wayne Leimbach, M.D., medical director of Oklahoma Heart Institute. “But, because of the stress, fatigue and frequent overindulgence, the holiday season can also trigger heart attacks.”

Studies suggest more cardiac emergencies happen during the winter holiday season (December and January).

There are a few things you can do to minimize your risk of holiday heart attack, according to Leimbach.

“Remember to enjoy the family and the season, but to also protect your heart by trying to get adequate amounts of sleep,” Leimbach said.

Travel, gift-buying and family gatherings can also make the holiday season a stressful time for many people.

“Avoid stressful situations and keep in mind that stress contributes to heart disease,” Leimbach said. “Remember, things don’t have to be perfect. If you are stressed about an issue, ask yourself if that issue is worth stressing over. If not, leave it be.”

Exercising, spending time outdoors and maintaining a healthy diet throughout the season can help combat holiday stress.

Embrace the holiday fun and enjoy spending time with family and friends. Talk with your doctor if you have any concerns about your heart health. To schedule an appointment, please call 918-592-0999.

As busy as the season can get, never dismiss heart attack symptoms. Seek immediate medical attention if you or someone you know is experiencing any of the following symptoms: shortness of breath, chest discomfort, pain or discomfort in arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach.