Oh boy!  The Holidays...

Here we are again at the Holiday season...  Every year, it’s the same thing!  Rush at work, last minute shopping, weather and temperature changes and the celebrations…

Just listing these and I’m out of breath…  What about your heart?


Heart attacks and strokes at a rise

In North America, a rise in heart attacks, deaths from heart attacks and strokes during the Holiday season has been observed.  It is mentioned that the increase is close to 10% compared to the rest of the year.

Association with the Holiday Season

A study done in a more tempered part of the world suggests that the upsurge of often deadly cardiac problems is somehow related to the Christmas and New Year period.


Will you make it to Christmas at the same time as everyone else?

This period of the year can be compared to a funnel!  Everything converges towards these end of year dates…  Overflow at work. Everything has to be done for yesterday. Physical and emotional stress is at a peak. Numerous travels in conditions that aren’t always easy. We eat too much. We drink too much… and paradoxically, we do less physical activity.


Mother Nature invites herself

On top of all this, we have to consider the climate.  The cold, the snow… the postcard sceneries often shown on Christmas cards are beautiful, but it seems everything would be simpler without all this.


December 25 to January 7: caution

Australian researchers analysed the increase in deaths in winter between 1988 and 2013 in New Zealand.  Even though the Holiday season is in the summertime for them, they have noted an increase in heart attacks between December 25 and January 7.

This increase in deaths has also been observed in the United States and quite similarly in Great Britain.

Many hypotheses have been mentioned: increase in stress, change in diet, alcohol, numerous travelling and the hesitation to consult when we are not in a familiar environment.


It’s cold in Canada

Elderly Canadians are more at risk.  The cold temperature adds to the risk as it increases blood pressure.  In turn, high blood pressure increases the risk for cardiovascular diseases and strokes.



Prevention is the best treatment

It is possible to keep the risk at a low rate during the Holiday season.  Moderation, adopting and maintaining healthy habits is the secret.


Shopping and staying calm

Nowadays, shopping can be simple.  Gift cards are available almost everywhere… it is difficult to be unsatisfied with size and colour, if you know what I mean! 

Online shopping is also an effective way to stay away from all the crowds.

And if you enjoy the atmosphere of shopping during Christmastime, shop at your own pace and make sure you take a few breaks!


Sweet tooth?  Caution…

Temptations are all around us at this time of year.  Pleasing ourselves is permitted, but not excessively!  We must maintain a balanced diet. 




Have a snack

We suggest you have a snack rich in protein before a reception.  You will be less hungry and therefore accept less excess sweets.  Furthermore, it is not recommended to drink alcohol with an empty stomach.


“Moderation is always in good taste”

Speaking of alcohol, moderation is always in good taste.  Obviously, we don’t drink and drive!

Gentlemen, it is recommended that if you choose to have alcohol, limit yourself to 2 or 3 beverages per day.  Ladies, it is 1 to 2 glasses for the same period.

One drink corresponds to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounce of liquor. 

Remember that alcoholic beverages are rich in calories…


I had too much to eat!

Who has never left the table without saying “I had too much to eat!”  We don’t feel well in this situation.  Remember that digestion causes the heart to make an effort.  Again, moderation is important.


Resting periods

Take time for yourself!  Naps, mediation, reading, all of these are effective ways to relax after hard, everyday work. 

It is recommended to sleep 8 hours every night.


“Play outdoors!”

Physical activity is the best prevention for cardiovascular diseases. 

Go for a walk every day or practice your favorite sports!



Keep your eyes open

Christmastime is a special time of the year where we meet and spend time with people we care for, but it is not rejoicing for everybody.

Be attentive for symptoms of cardiac problems.  Although these symptoms vary from one person to another, they generally resemble the following:

Victims may undergo strong, tenacious thoracic​ pain for more than 30 minutes, with or without nausea, vomiting, breathlessness, cold sweat and weaknesses.  Pain in the left arm and sometimes in the right arm, the jaw and the back may also be present.

The symptoms may make you believe you are living through the worse indigestion of your life.

If you are worried about a situation, call 811 or, in case of an emergency, call 911.


Happy Holidays!