Thursday, December 22, 2011

Danger of Fatal Holiday Heart Attacks

Heart Attacks Hit
Without Warning
(Photo by
I heard on ABC News just prior to Christmas a few years ago that deaths from heart attacks are more likely to occur around the holidays.  In particular, people seem to die more frequently from heart attacks if they occur on Christmas Day, the day after Christmas, or New Years Day.

Why Do More People Die From Heart Attacks During the Holidays?

Although the researchers did not know with absolute certainty why more people die when they have a heart attack on a holiday, the reporters hypothesized that it may be because people are reluctant to ask to be taken to the hospital on a holiday, because they don't want to interrupt all the the festivities.  

Because of this, it is especially important to keep an eye out for elderly relatives during other significant events ... family weddings, after the death of a loved one, reunions, etc.  These are also occasions when people may not want to disturb everyone else with complaints about pain or discomfort.

In addition, it is possible that people who have just eaten a heavy meal of rich food may mistake a heart attack for indigestion.  It is not an unusual confusion.

How Can You Tell the Difference Between a Heart Attack and Indigestion?

First, heart attacks are not experienced the same way by everyone.  While a woman may feel the pain in her arm or jaw, a man may feel as though is chest is being squeezed.  Later, the pain may migrate to a man's shoulder, arm or jaw, too.  Many people mistake their symptoms for indigestion.  However, if the pain is constant, rather than coming and going, and it doesn't get better when you lay down, it could very well be a heart attack.

Other Ways to Recognize a Heart Attack

There are also other clues that could indicate a heart attack.  For example, a common symptom is that the person will have trouble breathing.  They may also begin to sweat heavily, because of the stress the body is under.  They may feel as if their pulse is irregular, racing or skipping beats.

What to Do if You Suspect You or Someone Else is Having a Heart Attack

If you or someone you love experiences any of these symptoms during the holidays, or any other time of the year, do not wait to get them treated. Rush them to the hospital, or call 9-1-1. The sooner a heart attack victim is treated, the more likely they are to live.

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  1. Wow! These heart attack statistics really make you sit up and take notice. Great article.

  2. I agree that it is frightening to realize how quickly and unexpectedly we could be struck down by a heart attack; especially during a festive time of year!


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