The Holiday season is upon us, and with all of the festivities, we should consider that this time of year can actually put a great deal of stress on our hearts. Heart disease is still the leading cause of death in both men and women, and during the holidays, it’s essential to better understand and implement heart health and risk prevention.
Did you Know that Heart Attack Risks Increase Around this Season?
The risk of heart attack increases substantially during and after the holidays. The term “post-holiday heart attack” is a condition that is well-known by medical professionals. We are busier than ever during and after the holiday season. With parties, gift shopping, community events, and family gatherings, our stress levels are quite often through the roof. Emotional stress is a huge factor in blood pressure spikes. Along with anxiety, and the fact that most of us overindulge during this time of year. For example, we’re overeating, eating the wrong foods, like excessively salty and fatty fare, or we’re drinking too much alcohol.
When we overeat, it can raise our cholesterol levels, and when we drink too much alcohol, it can cause ventricular fibrillation. Ventricular fibrillation causes rapid, electrical stimulations in your heart, and you may experience a dangerously high heart rate. Taking the time to make wise decisions can be the straw that allows for a happy holiday or an unfortunate one.
Keeping Your Heart Healthy Through the Holidays
• Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
• Cut down on stress levels
• Eat a healthy diet
• Exercise multiple times per week
• Get physical examinations and regular checkups recommendations
• Get professional help for cutting out narcotics and other drugs
• Practice relaxation methods
• Stop smoking
• Learn to say no/too many activities can lead to undue anxiety
Eating a healthy diet is strongly recommended for many health benefits, but in terms of keeping our hearts ticking along, a diet low in saturated fat, high in vegetables and fruits, legumes, healthy oils like olive oil and avocado is critical. Also, consuming less unhealthy carbohydrates and more low-fat proteins like fish and poultry are crucial. If you have high blood pressure, minimizing salt is also highly significant. Instead of salt, try substituting with lemon or spices and herbs.
Carve out time to exercise. It’s recommended that we get 2.5 hours of moderate exercise weekly or 1.5 hours of active cardiovascular training per week. It’s okay to do a combination of the two, by walking one day for 20 minutes and sprinting the next for 30. No matter what you decide, you should always consult your physician before embarking on any workout plan. Along with cardiovascular uptake, exercise helps to increase the oxygen in our blood, and this is relevant to our overall heart health.
Stop the Cycle of Harmful Habits
If you smoke, stop now. Smoking causes an array of adverse health effects, including increasing plaque buildup in our arteries, raising bad cholesterol, decreasing good cholesterol, and damages the vessel walls, to name a few. If you smoke, your chances of a heart attack are incredibly high; smoking causes 6 million deaths per year. Talk to your physician about a specific smoking cessation plan for you. This holds true for any drug addictions that you may have. Do not wait; get help today and enjoy this holiday season with friends and family in a healthy state.
Rolling Oaks Professional Park
929 N US HWY 441, Suite 201
Lady Lake, FL 32159
It’s your heart.
It should be
And that’s how I treat it.
Dr. Thiruvallur Vallabhan is devoted to keeping your heart at its healthiest. Dr. Vallabhan is a Board Certified Cardiologist, and his mission is to provide The Villages and its surrounding communities with the highest quality cardiac care in a welcoming environment. He and his staff are dedicated to fulfilling the specific cardiac needs of each patient.
To find out more information on the Dr. Vallabhan, your local specialists in the diseases of the heart, veins, and arteries, please call (352) 750-2040 or visit them online at, Drvcardio.com