Biggest Week for Heart Attacks

Dr. Alan Chu, Amarillo Heart Group
Dr. Alan Chu, Amarillo Heart Group

Holiday cheer is a big contributor to the spike in heart attacks the week between Christmas and New Years Day.

The holiday season is usually a time to splurge on goodies that only arrive once a year. But in addition to the cold weather that is known to increase your heart rate, the phrase "You are What you Eat" can lead to a heart attack.

The tempting holiday treats are usually loaded with sodium and fats that put the heart into over drive and can cause heart failure.

Cardiologist Dr. Alan Chu of Amarillo Heart Group says, "Salt retains fluid for the body so if you have a lot of fluid that is being retained and you are not able to excrete the fluid adequately and rapidly."

Heavy use of alcohol can also strain the heart. "Sometimes it can even get your heart in an irregular rhythm that way. It can also cause cardio depression that I mentioned which is causing the muscle to not squeeze as well."

In addition to keeping a balanced diet and continuing to exercise, if you feel stressed, just take a break.

Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurse Connie Inglis says, "Some of the patients we tell them to sit down and relax and take it easy but if you are having chest pains the most important thing is to let us know, let a doctor know."

It is especially problematic during holiday festivities because sufferers will not seek medical attention immediately, for fear of disrupting the party.

Dr. Chu says it is crucial to call 911 immediately because muscle tissue deteriorates at a rapid rate. With modern medicine survival rates are steadily increasing.