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article imageHoliday Season Equals Heart Attack Season

By ashley.woods4     Dec 3, 2007 in Health
December and January are the deadliest months for heart attacks due to rich meals, alcohol, and stress. Many people are more reluctant to go to the emergency room because they don't want to disrupt holiday activities.
Hospitals say they notice a rise in heart attacks during Thanksgiving weekend. One hospital in particular, Suddath's hospital, had an alarming amount of heart attack victims and had to rent two extra heart-pumping machines.
A 2004 study confirmed it was a nationwide phenomenon, with peaks in death coinciding around the Christmas and New Year's holidays.
Vanderbilt University cardiologist Dr. Keith Churchwell says this phenomenon is due to the busy, stressful routine many people fall into during the holiday season.
People during the holiday season get so busy they forget to take their medication or exercise. People are also eating fatty meals and consuming more alcohol more than usual which causes the heart to work harder and beat faster.
Hospitals are also understaffed during the holiday season, however, hospitals around the nation are working hard to speed the care for heart attack victims. Hospitals are aiming to unclog blocked arteries within 90 minutes of arrival, they call the speedy care "door to balloon time."
Only about a third of people suffering major heart attacks get such fast care now. But more than 900 hospitals have signed on to meet that challenge — sites that either are forming 24-hour cardiac catheterization teams like Suddath's, or making sure on-call doctors arrive within minutes, or ferrying patients to those angioplasty centers.
Doctors stress to not hesitate going to the emergency room or to ignore symptoms of a heart attack. Doctors note that it can be hard to recognize a heart attack but if there are any worries or concerns you should have your symptoms checked.
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