Since so many of us are likely to suffer from heart disease as we age, we need to know when we are most likely to have a heart attack. In that way, we can be more vigilant about watching for symptoms in ourselves and our loved ones.
What are Common Heart Attack Symptoms?
Before we learn the times when we are most likely to have a heart attack, we need to know what symptoms we should watch for. Briefly, they are:
Unusual indigestion or nausea
Pain in the arm, back, shoulders or jaw
Shortness of breath
Light headedness or dizziness
Irregular heartbeat or an intense heartbeat
A feeling of anxiety or impending doom
When Do Heart Attacks Happen?
If you, your spouse or your parents are experiencing any of the events listed below, you need to be aware that there are certain times when a person is most likely to experience a heart attack. They are not the only times when you could have a heart attack, but you need to be especially aware if any of these things are going on in your life. There are six types of situations when researchers have noticed clusters of heart events:
The death of someone close to you - The heightened risk is strongest during the first week of grief; however, according to Swedish researchers, the elevated risk can actually last for several years! If you are grieving the loss of someone you cared about, pay extra attention if you also seem to be experiencing any of the signs of a heart attack.
Catching the Flu - For the next three days after developing the flu, you are four times more likely to have a heart attack. Be sure to contact your doctor if you are feeling exceptionally ill following the flu.
Experiencing a natural disaster - Isn't it awful enough to have to go through a natural disaster? To make matters worse, survivors are three times as likely to have a heart attack over the following three weeks.
An exciting sporting event - We have all seen the movies in which someone gets so excited about a special event that they have a heart attack. This is not so far-fetched. Heart attack risk goes up for sports fans who get particularly emotional about their favorite sporting events.
Mondays - Yes, the first day we go back to work after being off for a few days can make us more prone to a heart attack. Of course, we all have to go back to work sooner or later, so the best way to lesson your risk of a heart attack on Mondays is to try to start the week off as calmly as possible ... with yoga, a walk or meditation.
Shoveling snow - This is a chore that should probably be left to people who are young, healthy and in good physical shape. The combination of cold weather and hard labor can make people more prone to a heart attack. Take it easy. It isn't worth the risk.
When Are You Most Like to Die of a Heart Attack?
Above you learned about the times when you are most likely to have a heart attack. However, do you know there are certain times when you are more likely to actually die of a heart attack? What are those days and why are they more lethal than others?
December 25, December 26 and New Year's Day are the days when you are most likely to die of a heart attack. The cardiac event may have been triggered by drinking too much, cold weather, stress over money spent on gifts, or difficulty coping with family issues during the holidays.
Why are people more likely to actually die when a heart attack occurs on those days?
* After over-eating a large holiday meal, the patient may mistake a heart attack for indigestion.
* Some people may not want to disrupt the holiday festivities with a trip to the hospital, especially if they think it is just indigestion. They don't want to interrupt the fun their family members are having.
* By the time the patient wakes up the next day and realizes they still feel bad, it could be too late. Patients should not wait more than 12 hours after the onset of symptoms before they seek treatment.
For the same reasons that people die on December 25, December 26 and New Year's Day, people can sometimes be more prone to death during Hanukkah, while enjoying birthday celebrations or other special days.
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"The Most Dangerous Times for Your Heart," Reader's Digest Magazine, October 2014