More people die of heart attacks in December and January than any other time of the year. Between elevated stress levels, and the consumption of fatty foods and alcoholic beverages, Christmas and New Year’s Eve can wreak havoc on the heart, cardiologists warn.
Dr. Hadley Wilson, cardiologist at Carolinas HealthCare System’s Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute, offers these tips for keeping your heart healthy, while enjoying time with friends and family this holiday season:
Limit Alcohol Consumption
Drinking too much can raise blood pressure, and possibly trigger irregular heartbeat and other cardiac issues that can lead to chest pain. Stick to one cocktail, one beer or one glass of wine a night, and be sure to consume plenty of water all day long.
Be Wary of Cold Weather
If you have heart disease, try to steer clear of outdoor activities when it is cold outside. Cooler temperatures can constrict blood vessels, which may increase the risk of heart attack, particularly when coupled with over-exertion.
Watch what you Eat
It is perfectly fine to indulge during the holidays, but don’t go overboard. Big meals that are high in fat are known raise cholesterol levels, possibly leading to heart attacks down the road.
Keep Holiday Stress at Bay
With all of the cooking, shopping, and traveling that the holidays entail, stress levels can reach an all-time high. Don’t forget to maintain a healthy eating and exercise schedule, or to take any medications you may be prescribed. Your health, and heart, should be a priority.