Alcohol, rich food, and increased levels of stress and excitement are a recipe for a potentially fatal holiday heart attack, according to researchers who studied spikes in coronary death rates around Christmas and New Year’s.
The Los Angeles Times reported Dec. 17 that researchers have studied the phenomena of the “Merry Christmas Coronary” and the “Happy New Year Heart Attack”: Dec. 25 and Jan. 1 are the two deadliest days of the year for heart attacks, and the heart-disease death rate is 33 percent higher in December and January than the rest of the year.
Researchers found that the increase was not related to cold weather or shoveling snow, noting that death rates rose even in sunny southern California. Robert A. Kloner, a cardiologist at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, said that revelers should avoid excessive alcohol, food, and salt to prevent a holiday tragedy. “Avoid excess physical exertion, overeating, lack of sleep, emotional stress and anger,” he said. “They have all been associated with cardiac events.”