Researchers from the University of California, San Diego, and Tufts University School of Medicine conducted a study in 2004 where 53 million US death certificates from 1973 to 2001 were examined. The study findings revealed that an overall increase of 5% more heart-related deaths occur during Christmas time – the season of overflowing food and drinks. The study also discovered that the number of deaths from cardiac arrest is higher on December 25 than on any other day of the year. December 26, and January 1 follow in as the second highest day when heart attacks occur.
A cardiologist at the Manila Doctors Hospital, Dr. Dante Morales explained that there are several factors that can be attributed to such findings. Foremost is the fact that it is not uncommon for people to overindulge in fatty, sweet and salty foods during Christmas. Other than food, fatigue, lack of sleep and emotional stress may also contribute to the upsurge of cases.
Dr. Ernie Evra of the National Center for Disease Prevention and Control explained that during the yuletide season, lifestyle changes. People tend to increase the amount of food and neglecting the need to exercise.
Hence, cardiologists advise the public to go easy on eating and drinking during this festive season. People should make sure that whatever they prepare for “Noche Buena” or “Medya Noche”, fruits and vegetables should be mixed in for nutritional balance.
According to Dr. Morales, it’s important to have the right behavior and the discipline even when so much food is served on the dinner table. People should know how much they should take in and what they need to do if they overindulged.
DOH experts remind the public that most vulnerable to heart attack or stroke are smokers and those with high cholesterol levels, diabetes and hypertension.
The public is also advised to seek medical attention if they manifest any of the following symptoms as it could be indicative of a heart attack:
- Jaw, nape, ears and neck pain
- Difficulty in breathing
In order to enjoy the rest of the Christmas holidays and not become part of the statistics, go easy on the overflowing food and drinks this Yuletide season!