Holiday heart stress might sound gimmicky at first, but 69% of people report heightened stress during the season of cheer. When the demands of seasonal engagements mix with an already bus work or school schedule, it’s not uncommon for patients to suffer under the pressure. In the past, some doctors have refered to this as the “holiday heart attack” or “Christmas coronary.”

Think about it this way, the increase in rich foods and alcohol plus stress from a lack of time are a mixture for cardiac issues. Some common cardiac events seen in ER’s during this season include heart attack, AFIB, and stroke. That’s why it’s so important to put healthy choices first and make cuts on stressors in life.

In an artcile by Medical City ER, Dr. Yoo, cardiologist, writes, “Holiday heart can affect anyone of any age who is under stress. And today, that includes young people as well… If you are experiencing any of the symptoms below, you should make an appointment with your doctor for a checkup.”

Signs You are Experiencing Holiday Stress

Maybe it doesn’t seem like it now, but stress can put you at risk for heart disease and make an already struggling patient much worse. Signs that your body is stressed include: headaches, insomnia, feelings of burnout or fatigue, decreased morale, bodily aches, mood shifts, and a decline in productivity.

Each of these can lead to unhealthy eating habits, weight gain, relationship strain, and lethargy which can lead to heart disease. 

How To Handle Holiday Stress

There is no cure-all to dealing with stress. Each family, person, and body is unique in it’s weaknesses and stress causers. For some, holiday stress can be the breaking point, for others it’s simply more fuel to the fire. Here are a few healthy ways to put your cardiovascular system first.

  • Prioritize your “yeses”- If it’s between your blood pressure and an engagment, it’s okay to say no.
  • Take it outside- Rather than spending the holidays inside, take your family for a walk. Extended periods of walking in fresh air help reduce stress and strengthen your heart.
  • Only indulge if it’s memorable- Skip the trays of cookies or candies that might be in your workplace. Instead, focus on normal eating and indulge only on the special occasions.
  • Visit your cardiologist- In the hustle and bustle of holidays, don’t lapse on visits to your cardiologist. Rather than canceling, work with our schedulers to find a time you can make it.
  • Stay diligent with medication- Frequently, patients will travel and forget or skip their medication. If you have a cardiac perscriptions, please stay diligent.
  • Skip the alcohol- Alcohol is a depressant for the entire body. If you’re feeling down, it will not help. And, it’s rough on blood sugar, weight management, and blood pressure. Try to keep alcohol use to a minimum.

If you have any questions or need to speak with your provider, you can reach out 24/7 on our patient portal.

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Central Georgia Heart Center

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