Keeping Your Heart Safe During the Holidays

An astounding 33 percent more people experience heart attacks during December and January, folks, reports the American Heart Association (https://newsarchive.heart.org/avoiding-deadly-holiday-heart-attacks/). That may seem wild–after all, the holidays are a happy time, filled with warm family togetherness and gift giving.

For all the great things holidays bring us, there are some bad things, too. Stress, for one, goes up during this time, and so does overindulgence for many people. It’s these two factors combined that likely lead to the rise of heart incidents during and right after the holiday season. To keep everyone’s hearts healthy this season, here are some things to do.

Switch to potluck

Have your family dinners run as potlucks, with everyone bringing a dish. This prevents all the stress of the workload falling on one person, which can be immense for large gatherings.

Go easy on the alcohol

Excessive drinking can boost your blood pressure, and binge drinking can lead to an irregular heartbeat, which will increase your stroke and heart attack risks.

Keep it warm

Cold temperatures can be hard on your heart because they make the blood vessels constrict, which will raise your blood pressure. Lower temps also allow blood clots to form more easily, so avoid exposure to frigid weather and keep yourself layered up.

Get yourself moving

Talk a quick walk around the neighborhood to see the lights or follow along with a quick exercise video on the web. Exercise is good for your heart and also helps you let off stress.

Avoid high-stress situations

Get your to-do list down to a manageable size. No one can do everything, and there’s enough to do around the holidays as it is. When you put too much pressure on yourself, you’re also going to put pressure on your heart.

Pay attention to your health

Don’t ignore what your body needs or is telling you just because it’s the holidays and you have a lot to do or are traveling. Take any medications you are on as you should and pay attention to how you feel. If you think something could be wrong, don’t just write it off as holiday stress or a holiday cold. People sometimes confuse heart attacks with panic attacks or other less-serious ailments, so it’s better to be safe than sorry and get medical attention as soon as you decide something is going on.