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How holiday stress affects your heart



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Getty Images Michael Cogliantry

Holly, happy … heart attack season? According to a robust new Swedish study published in the British Medical Journal over 283,000 heart haunted attacks between 1998 and 2013, the heart attack risk is 15 percent higher on Christmas Day than usual, 37 percent on Christmas Day and 20 percent on New Year's Day ,

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To cardiologists, this is no coincidence. The idea that stress can increase the risk of a heart attack is well-known in medicine and dates back to the 1980s, Dr. med. Meagan Murphy Wasfy, cardiologist at Mass General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

Many studies show that any kind of stress events nationally increases the risk of heart attack, "adds Christopher Kelly, MD, a cardiologist at Columbia University Medical Center and author of Am I Dying ?! A Complete Guide to Your Symptoms – and Further Steps

Studies have shown, for example, that in Germany, on days when the country's football team competed in the World Cup, the risk of a heart attack shot up in Germany, exposure to loud traffic jolts also poses some risk, and this Swedish study even found that Monday morning was a dangerous time for cardiac events.

Strong emotions and a lot of stress increase activity in a brain region, the amygdala. And these increases are related to inflammation in the arteries (which supply the heart muscle with blood) and the risk of cardiovascular disease and cardiac events.

To summarize: "Short-term risk of heart attack higher when stress factors occur," says Kelly.

As for the holidays, jet lag, parking in cars for several hours, family members with whom you are not always with, see at eye level, stay on for a long time, and changing the routine can add to the stress.

Excessive alcohol consumption A risk factor for both heart attack and atrial fibrillation (Afib), also known as the "holiday heart", is an irregular heartbeat Blood clots and other cardiac complications, says Kelly, "you feel like your heart is racing, as if your heart is leaping beats, or knocking down and turning to Afib in a hurry." Beats may feel chaotic, like raindrops on the sidewalk Murphy Wasfy: Most active people agree with their bodies so that they can take this up she says, if you already know that you have Afib and feel it, contact your doctor. Never felt? Go to ER

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But here's the matter of the holiday heart: A perfectly healthy heart will not turn from a flawless condition into a heart attack just because you've had a fight over politics with yours Cousin or a bar closed with your brother, Kelly notes. Rather, many of us have been building plaques over the decades that are pimple-like substances that harden our arteries. If you smoke, have high cholesterol, diabetes or are overweight? Your risk for these plaques is even higher.

Stress can rupture the roof of a plaque and cause a blood clot that blocks the artery

. Plaques can be very well on your arteries and focus on their arteries most of the time, but as Kelly explains, "Stress can tear the roof off a plate, and the plate can cause a blood clot that clogs the artery." And if the artery – and thus the blood supply to the heart – is blocked? This is a heart attack. So, "Acute stress ignites the fuse that sets off the final event," explains Kelly.

You can certainly enjoy your vacation, says Kelly. It's no big deal to drink wine and beer (in fact, in low to moderate doses, some research shows that alcohol has been associated with a lower risk of heart disease.) It's okay to increase your diet But in moderation, he says.

Bottom line: While no one wants to spend New Year's Eve in the ER, if you notice a pressure in your chest or sudden respiratory distress that does not abate – especially if you risk factors for Have heart disease, such as a history of diabetes, or if you are a smoker – do not blow it out. "Those who have these symptoms need to hurry up and see a doctor." Kelly says, "It's a situation in which everyone Minute counts. "


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