The holiday season is short and sweet – but oftentimes stressful, especially for your heart health. According to the American Heart Association, cardiac death is almost 5% higher during the holidays.
More food + more alcohol, less sleep + more stress = heart health overload.
Not only that, people often delay care during the holidays. Whether it’s due to travel or having too much on their plate, preventative care is the last thing on people’s minds. However, if you already have a heart condition, are overweight or predisposed to heart disease, you are at a higher risk for a major medical event disrupting your holiday festivities.
- Indulge in Moderation
With all of the cookies, party platters and libations with friends, it can be easy to get caught up in the joy of the moment. However, an excess amount of alcohol, salt and fat can put extra stress on your cardiovascular system. Eating one cookie is fine… eating ten might cause more problems than not.
- Continue to take medications
Check, check and double-check that you are continuing to take your medications regularly. When the holidays are consumed with to-do lists, self-care can often take a backseat. Make sure to also take time for yourself. You can’t enjoy the holidays if you are not around. If you want to do a medication check-up, schedule an appointment with your primary provider. Burnett Medical Center also has a Family Practice Clinic to help you stay healthy during the holidays.
- Ask for Help
You don’t have to do it all. Hanging holiday lights, shoveling the driveway, baking sweet treats, wrapping presents – it can all take a toll on your mental, emotional and physical state. The more stress you have, the more likely you are to experience a cardiac episode. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or buy a pie from the store – nobody knows the difference anyway.
Most importantly, do not ignore the symptoms of a heart attack. If you are experiencing even the slightest chest pain, call 9-1-1. In a rural area like northern Wisconsin, timeliness in receiving medical care can mean life or death. The holidays are about spending time with loved ones. Take care of yourself so you can spend many more holidays with those you love most.